Judge Strikes Down Health Care Exemption for FFCRA Leave Benefits  

Situation Report | August 10, 2020

On August 3, a New York federal district judge vacated parts of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) final rule that provides guidance on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (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.

New York State filed the lawsuit challenging the final rule’s interpretations after the regulations were released. The FFCRA is set to expire in January 2020.

The ruling is available here.

According to a report issued by HCA’s legal counsel, Jackson Lewis, the provisions that were struck down include:

  • The definition of health care provider.
  • The exclusion from benefits of employees whose employers do not have work for them.
  • Employer consent for intermittent leave.
  • Documentation requirements prior to taking leave under the Act.

The implication of the court’s decision remains unclear for all employers under the FFCRA, and for home care providers particularly as it relates to the definition of who qualifies under the health care provider exemption. It is unknown at this time whether the U.S. DOL will file an appeal or take further action. Once that decision is determined, HCA will notify members.

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).

HCA also plans to host a webinar on the court’s ruling in the coming weeks.

For questions or concerns, please contact HCA’s Director for Policy and Advocacy Alyssa Lovelace.