Throughout the country there has been confusion from employers and employees about the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). Many employers and workers have been confused about how to apply the law or access its benefits when it takes effect. "Given that this law is brand new and was expeditiously created by Congress—meaning that it was written in a short period of time and may not have sufficient guidance on every part of its requirements—it is important to stay alert for updates and guidance," said Jason Reisman, an attorney with Blank Rome.
With this, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has issued two updates that we feel are important to share.
First, while FFCRA became law on March 18, 2020 the DOL confirms that the FFCRA’s paid leave provisions become effective on April 1, 2020 and apply to leave taken between April 1 and December 31, 2020. They also note that paid sick leave and expanded medical leave requirements are not retroactive. This means that employers may not take advantage of payroll tax credits allowed under paid sick leave and paid family leave provisions of the FFCRA for leave provided prior to April 1, 2020.
Second, the DOL provides its first set of guidance. So what’s included?
Most recently, the DOL has made available this workplace poster Employee Rights: Paid Sick Leave and Expanded Family and Medical Leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), that employers with fewer than 500 employees can use to fulfill their obligations to notify employees of their rights. All employers are required to ensure this FFCRA notice is posted on premises by April 1st or "In light of the fact that many employees are now working remotely, employers should consider adding the posting to intranet sites and using other means that may be visible to remote workers," to satisfy this requirement. The DOL suggests options such as e-mailing or direct mailing the notice to employees who are working remotely, or posting the notice on an employee information internal or external website.
Sources from the DOL state more guidance and tools for employers will be available on a rolling basis. Worksite Benefits will continue to monitor and relay information related COVID-19 and the workplace.