The DOL Issues Regulation: Paid Leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act

On April 1, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced new action regarding how American workers and employers will benefit from the protections and relief offered by the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA) and Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLEA), both part of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The Department’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) posted a temporary rule issuing regulations pursuant to this new law, effective April 1, 2020, and expires December 31, 2020, to coincide with the FFCRA. The Rule provides comprehensive guidelines on who qualifies for virus-related leave and when they can use it.

The Rule clarifies that employers with fewer than 500 employees must provide paid sick leave for employees who cannot work due to the COVID-19 virus under the EPSLA. Those companies must also offer partially paid leave to pay employees who must care for a child whose school or childcare is closed or unavailable due to the virus. It also clarifies the small business exemption, regular rate, intermittent leave requests, and documents employees must provide to request a leave.

To be clear, this is not legislation in addition to the FFCRA, but regulation that clarifies the sick and family medical leave portions of the FFCRA. Employers Council will publish more guidance soon. You can see the draft text of the ruling here.