FAQs Posted on Paid Sick Leave 

Situation Report | September 8, 2020

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division has published new frequently asked questions (FAQs) for workers and employers about qualifying for paid leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) related to the reopening of schools.

The FAQs are here.

This guidance explains eligibility for paid leave relative to the varied formats and schedules schools have announced as they plan to reopen, including blending in-person with distance learning.

FFCRA allows certain employees to take up to two weeks of paid sick leave and up to 12 weeks of expanded family and medical leave, 10 of which are paid, for specified reasons related to COVID-19. An eligible employee can take both types of paid leave “because of a need to care for the employee’s son or daughter whose school or place of care is closed, or whose child care provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19 related reasons.”

The Department said it has received many requests for guidance on this topic, prompting the FAQs, which address whether employees qualify for paid leave when:

  • A child attends a school operating on an alternate day basis.
  • A parent chooses remote learning when in-person instruction is available.
  • A school begins the year with remote learning but may shift to in-person instruction if conditions change.

As previously reported, a New York federal district judge in August vacated parts of the final rule that provides guidance on the FFCRA. This action, in effect, strikes provisions that otherwise provided exemptions of health care workers from the FFCRA’s paid leave provisions for businesses with fewer than 500 employees.

HCA is working with our counsel to determine the impact on the HCA membership, including potential retroactivity and liability concerns. We will also be examining how the effect of this decision will interplay with a separate state law that also requires paid leave (with no health care exemption).