The federal government recently enacted the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which included the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA) and the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLEA). These laws, along with the subsequently passed CARES Act, provide employees with up to 80 hours of paid sick time for certain COVID-19 related reasons and extends Family and Medical Leave Act time off to care for a child if the school or place of care has been closed or the child care provider is unavailable.
Since the laws became effective April 1, there have been many questions about how these laws apply to specific employee situations.
- The United States Department of Labor’s website (dol.gov/coronavirus) has a number of helpful resources about COVID-19 and employment.
- The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division has developed a question and answer resource setting forth guidance on frequently asked FFCRA questions. Topics include definitions, eligibility, application, coverage and enforcement. The resource is updated as new questions arise.
- The law firm of Felhaber Larson has put together a flow chart designed to assist in determining when the EPSLA and the EFMLEA leaves may apply to a particular situation. It is important to remember that the chart is a starting point only. It does not take into account every situation, and all of the nuances and details found in the FFCRA and its regulations.
- Other laws, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act, may also apply to a particular situation. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has developed technical assistance titled What You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws.
- The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry has developed a resource on frequently asked questions related to COVID-19 and employment.
Entities should also consult their personnel policies regarding use of sick, vacation or other leaves that may be applicable.
Seek Legal Counsel
For questions about how the FFCRA or other laws that may apply to a specific employee situation, members are strongly encouraged to consult with their legal counsel, particularly if denying a requested leave or accommodation.