On September 11th, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL’s) Wage and Hour Division (WHD) issued revisions to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). These updates clarify workers’ rights and employers’ responsibilities under the FFCRA’s paid leave provisions. The revisions are in response to the August 3rd, 2020, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York decision that found portions of the regulations invalid.

FFCRA Revisions

The revisions include:

  • Additional explanation for the requirement that employees may take FFCRA leave only if work would otherwise be available to them.
  • Reaffirm and provide additional explanation for the requirement that an employee have employer approval to take FFCRA leave intermittently.
  • Revise the definition of “healthcare provider” to include only employees who:
    • meet the definition of that term under the Family and Medical Leave Act regulations;
    • or provide diagnostic services, preventative services, treatment services, or other integrated services. These services are necessary to the provision of patient care which, if not provided, would adversely impact patient care.
  • Clarify that employees must provide required documentation supporting their need for FFCRA leave to their employers as soon as practicable.
  • Correct an inconsistency regarding when employees need to provide notice to take expanded family and medical leave to their employers.

After the September 16 publication of this initial temporary rule in the Federal Register, the revisions will go into effect. The FFCRA will expire on December 31st, 2020.

Background of the FFCRA

The FFCRA helps the U.S. combat the workplace effects of the coronavirus by giving tax credits to businesses with fewer than 500 employees. The credits compensate employers for providing paid leave for an employee’s health needs or to care for family members. This ensures that workers do not have to choose between their jobs and health measures needed to combat the virus.

Employer Takeaway

Just as they needed to previously learn about the FFCRA, employers now need to become familiar with the recent updates to the same law. To assist, the WHC has created a Quick Benefits Tips handout, This poster includes information on how much leave qualified workers can take and the wages employers must pay.