In March, Congress passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) which mandated paid sick leave and expanded family medical leave for employees impacted by COVID-19 due to illness, quarantine, or the closure of childcare facilities. The Department of Labor (DOL) published an extensive list of frequently asked questions for employees and employers unsure of how the new regulations may affect themselves or their business. That guidance is available here: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-questions.
While the FFCRA was signed into law on March 18, the paid sick leave and expanded family medical leave provisions were not effective until April 1, 2020. For the month following enactment, through April 17, the DOL announced it would focus on compliance assistance rather than enforcement. The DOL did, however, reserve the right to retroactively enforce violations back to April 1st, if the employer had not remedied the violation.
Last week, the DOL announced their first violation of the paid sick leave requirements. The employer failed to pay the employee for time off spent at home after receiving documentation from a physician asking him to self-quarantine, time qualifying as paid sick leave. The company is now required to pay the employee’s full wages for 80 hours of leave, the full amount of paid sick leave available under the FFCRA.
The DOL encourages employees and employers who are unsure of their rights or obligations under the FFCRA to reach out for assistance or utilize their online tools to ensure compliance. More resources on the FFCRA and compliance are available at https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic.
Disclaimer: Please note that this is not all-inclusive. Our guidance is designed only to give general information on the issues covered. It is not intended to be a comprehensive summary of all laws which may apply to your situation, treat exhaustively the subjects covered, provide legal advice, or render a legal opinion. Consult your legal advisor regarding the specific application of the information to your plan.