|The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued its first official guidance for employers and workers about the paid-leave provisions in the coronavirus relief bill that was signed into law on March 18.|
First Set of Guidelines
The DOL’s first set of guidance, which was announced on March 24, includes:
“With so many workers and so many employers struggling to find their way in these trying conditions, providing guidance on a rolling basis will allow workers and businesses to prepare for the law to go into effect on April 1,” said DOL Wage and Hour Administrator Cheryl Stanton. “We remain committed and are working around the clock to provide the information and tools for employees and employers alike.”
|The Families First Coronavirus Response Act’s (FFCRA’s) emergency paid-leave provisions apply to businesses with fewer than 500 employees, but there are exceptions available for small businesses and companies that employ health care workers. |
Many employers will have to provide up to 80 hours of paid-sick-leave benefits if employees need leave to care for their own or someone else’s coronavirus-related issues.
The legislation updates the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to provide workers with up to an additional 10 weeks of job-protected paid leave when they can’t work—either onsite or remotely—because their minor son’s or daughter’s school or child care service is closed due to the public health emergency. These provisions take effect April 1 and expire on Dec. 31.
The act will not be applied retroactively, and employers cannot deny paid sick leave to workers who were already provided leave for a qualifying reason before the act’s effective date, according to the DOL.
FFCRA also provides for payroll tax credits to employers to cover the cost of providing paid leave to employees under the sick-leave and family-leave programs, noted Linda Jackson, an attorney with Arent Fox in Washington, D.C.
“The legislation will ensure that workers are not forced to choose between their paychecks and the public health measures needed to combat the virus while at the same time reimbursing businesses,” the DOL said.
|Archway Benefits will continue to provide updates as we receive information! It is extremely helpful for us if you email us your questions. As we attend trainings and interact with legislators, we can bring those questions with us.|
Currently, there are many unknowns and are waiting for the DOL to offer additional guidance and clarification on many outstanding unknowns.