Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates

April 7, 2020

Department of Labor (DOL)
The DOL has released even more FAQs (see #60-79) regarding the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). Some pertinent information:

  • A local quarantine or isolation order includes shelter-in-place or stay-at-home orders.Employees are only eligible for paid sick leave if the order is the cause of an employee’s inability to work (or telework) and the employer has work that the employee could perform but for the order.Paid sick leave cannot be taken for a local quarantine or isolation order if the employer does not have work for the employee as a result of the quarantine or isolation order.
  •  In order to receive paid sick leave under the FFCRA, the employee must seek a medical diagnosis or be advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine.In other words, an employee cannot unilaterally decide to self-quarantine without medical advice.
  • “Individual” was not defined in and of itself, but through the answer to question #64:
    •  Essentially, an individual (for whom an employee would take paid sick leave in order to provide care) is an immediate family member or someone who regularly resides in the employee’s home.
    • Further, paid sick leave can also be taken to care for someone where the relationship creates an expectation that you care for the person in a quarantine or self-quarantine situation, and that individual depends on you for care during the quarantine or self-quarantine.
    • Additionally, an employee may not take paid sick leave to care for someone with whom the employee does not have a relationship; nor can paid sick leave be taken to care for someone who does not expect or depend on the employee’s care during his or her quarantine or self-quarantine.
  • “Place of care” has been defined as a physical location in which care is provided for the employee’s child and does not have to be solely dedicated to such care.
  •  “Child care provider” has been defined as someone who cares for the employee’s child.The individual providing care may be paid or unpaid and includes family members.
  • Schools that have moved to online instruction whether wholly or partially are considered closed for purposes of paid leave under the FFCRA.
  •  Only one parent or guardian can take paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave to care for a child.
  • Paid sick leave may only be taken to care for one’s own son or daughter.However, if a child, who is not the employee’s own son or daughter, meets the criteria above of an “individual”, then the employee may take paid sick leave to care for that child.Expanded family and medical leave is only available to care for one’s own son or daughter.
  • “Substantially similar condition” (leave reason #6 under the FFCRA) has not yet been identified by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
  • Staffing companies subject to the FFCRA (fewer than 500 employees) should be aware that both internal employees and workers placed outside of the company will need to be provided paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave.
  • Generally-speaking, an employee who is receiving workers’ compensation or temporary disability benefits may not take paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave.If an employee can return to light duty and a qualifying reason prevents the employee from working, the employee may take paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave, as the situation warrants.
  • Employees who are on mandatory leave (i.e. furlough) do not qualify for benefits under the FFCRA – this is because the mandatory leave is preventing the employee from working as opposed to a qualifying reason for leave.Employees who are on a voluntary leave of absence can end the leave and begin taking paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave provided there is a qualifying reason that prevents the employee from working (or teleworking).
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