We have kept you advised of recent federal actions taken in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, including the passage of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”) which, among other things, provides paid family leave for certain employees. (See previous blogs at here, here, and here.) The FFCRA was to take effect “no later than 15 days” after being signed by the President. Given that it was signed on March 18, 2020, many legal commentators advised that it would take effect on April 2nd. The U.S. Department of Labor has now clarified that the FFCRA will instead take effect one day earlier on April 1, 2020.
Yesterday, the DOL issued a “Questions and Answers” webpage for the FFCRA. This Q&A page states: “The FFCRA’s paid leave provisions are effective April 1, 2020, and apply to leave taken between April 1, 2020 and December 31, 2020.” The Q&A page addresses a number of questions for both employers and employees, including which employers are subject to the FFCRA and calculating pay for purposes of complying with the FFCRA, such as computing hours for part-time employees and including overtime for full-time employees. The Q&A page also states that while there is an exemption for small businesses, the DOL will address that exemption in more detail in a future Q&A page.
We recommend that employers continue to monitor our blog for future updates concerning the FFCRA and other employment developments as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. We also advise employers to seek legal advice to determine whether the FFCRA applies to their business, and if so, what steps to take to ensure compliance.