Employment Law Bulletin | March 27, 2020

U.S. Department of Labor Clarifies Employer’s Obligations Under the FFCRA

The United States Department of Labor (DOL) recently issued guidance about the emergency paid sick leave and emergency family medical leave benefits required by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).  You can find them at https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-questions.

While FAQs are not binding precedent, they are the best indication we have at this point about implementation of the new law.  We recommend that you review the FAQs carefully because they may impact your decisions about permanent layoffs and temporary layoffs/furloughs before the FFCRA becomes effective on April 1, 2020.

The FAQs have also informed our advice to employers.  If you’ve spoken with an SMT employment attorney since the FFCRA was enacted on March 18, you know that our advice was that the FFCRA benefits applied to any employee who was still employed on April 1, even if the employee was on a temporary layoff/furlough.  This advice was provided when we didn’t have any guidance and was the most conservative approach to avoid employer liability in a time of unchartered territory.  These new FAQs indicate a different interpretation by the DOL, so we now have good news for employers – the emergency benefits do not apply if your employees are off work, whether permanently or temporarily, due to lack of work.

Please contact an SMT employment attorney if you have questions.

Lisa Ann Hilario

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SMT’s employment attorneys can provide your company with employment policies, forms and employee disciplinary documentation in Spanish. Providing such important information to employees in the language they understand is critical to employee performance, providing a welcoming diverse work environment, and protecting your company against employment claims. Contact an SMT attorney today to get started.

Spaulding McCullough & Tansil LLP
Employment Law Group

Jan Gabrielson Tansil  | Lisa Ann Hilario | Kari Brown