On Friday, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) published additional guidance to employees and employers about how each will be able to take advantage of the protections and relief offered by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) when it goes into effect on April 1, 2020.
The policy states the FFCRA will offer all American businesses with fewer than 500 employees tax credits to provide employees with paid leave, either for the employee’s own health needs or to care for family members. The legislation will enable employers to keep their employees on their payrolls, while at the same time ensuring that employees are not forced to choose between their paychecks and the public health measures needed to combat the virus.
Other guidance includes questions and answers addressing critical issues such as the definition of a “health care provider,” and the scope of the small business exemption for purposes of exclusion from the provisions of the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act and Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act, as well as whether public sector employees may take paid family and medical leave. In addition, WHD posted its two recently released posters and fact sheets in Spanish on its COVID-19 website.
This guidance adds to a growing list of compliance assistance materials published by WHD, including the English-language versions of a Fact Sheet for Employees, a Fact Sheet for Employers, and two new required posters—one for federal workers and one for all other employees, as well as Questions and Answers about posting requirements, and a Field Assistance Bulletin describing WHD’s 30-day non-enforcement policy.
“The response to the guidance we’ve published so far has illustrated the critical need that workers and employers have for this important information,” said Wage and Hour Division Administrator Cheryl Stanton. “This round includes some of the most common questions we are receiving and will help ensure that the American workforce has all the tools and information needed in these very trying times. We encourage everyone to check the Wage and Hour Division website frequently, as we continue to add guidance to help everyone understand what they are entitled to as we prepare for these vital new benefits to go into effect on April 1, 2020.”
WHD provides additional information on common issues employers and employees face when responding to COVID-19, and its effects on wages and hours worked under the Fair Labor Standards Act and job-protected leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act at https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic.