Employment Law Updates

The Department of Labor and IRS have issued temporary regulations concerning the supporting documentation required when employees request paid sick leave and emergency family and medical leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The DOL regulations provide that an employer may (but are not required to) require employees to follow reasonable notice procedures as soon as practical. That can be after the first workday or portion of a workday for which an employee receives paid sick leave in order to continue to receive such leave. The employee must provide a signed statement containing:

  •  The employee's name.
  •  The date(s) for which leave is requested.
  •  The coronavirus-qualifying reason for leave.
  •  A statement that the employee can't work or telework because of this reason.

An employee must also provide the name of the government entity that issued the quarantine or isolation order to which the employee is subject, if that is the reason for paid sick leave.

An employee seeking leave because he or she is self-quarantined must provide the name of the health care provider making the quarantine recommendation. Someone caring for a person who is quarantined must provide either the government entity that issued the quarantine or isolation order or the name of the health care provider who advised the person to self-quarantine. A person requesting expanded family and medical leave must provide:

  • The name of the child being cared for.
  • The name of the school, place of care or child care provider that closed or became unavailable due to coronavirus reasons.
  • A statement representing that no other suitable person is available to care for the child during the period of requested leave.

The IRS also issued regulations concerning documentation for the paid leave, assuming employers will use the payroll tax credits provided by the new law.

Feel free to contact us if you have questions about this matter.

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The Department of Labor has now issued guidance in the form of Q & A’s concerning the health care and small business exemptions from the paid leave provisions of the FFCRA. The guidance concerning health care is as follows:

56. Who is a “health care provider” who may be excluded by their employer from paid sick leave and/or expanded family and medical leave?
For the purposes of employees who may be exempted from paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave by their employer under the FFCRA, a health care provider is anyone employed at any doctor’s office, hospital, health care center, clinic, post-secondary educational institution offering health care instruction, medical school, local health department or agency, nursing facility, retirement facility, nursing home, home health care provider, any facility that performs laboratory or medical testing, pharmacy, or any similar institution, employer, or entity. This includes any permanent or temporary institution, facility, location, or site where medical services are provided that are similar to such institutions.

This definition includes any individual employed by an entity that contracts with any of the above institutions, employers, or entities institutions to provide services or to maintain the operation of the facility. This also includes anyone employed by any entity that provides medical services, produces medical products, or is otherwise involved in the making of COVID-19 related medical equipment, tests, drugs, vaccines, diagnostic vehicles, or treatments. This also includes any individual that the highest official of a state or territory, including the District of Columbia, determines is a health care provider necessary for that state’s or territory’s or the District of Columbia’s response to COVID-19.

To minimize the spread of the virus associated with COVID-19, the Department encourages employers to be judicious when using this definition to exempt health care providers from the provisions of the FFCRA.

The guidance concerning small business (fewer than 50 employees) is contained in Q&A’s 58 & 59, found at the DOL website link:
https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-questions.

Feel free to contact us if you have questions about this matter.

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On Friday, March 27, the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act was enacted. The goal of the new law is to boost the economy with provisions that will provide direct payments to individuals and relief for businesses, including provisions that will impact:

  •  Unemployment insurance.
  •  Business loans.
  •  Health insurance.
  •  Retirement savings.
  •  Employer-provided education assistance.

A key provision of the legislation establishes new loans to help employers continue to cover payroll costs and other expenses during the coronavirus crisis. The loans will be administered by the Small Business Administration and cover expenses from February 15 through June 30. The loans may be used for payroll costs, healthcare, rent, utilities and other debts incurred by the business. The definition of "payroll costs" excludes leave payments made under the new Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). Reimbursement for those leave payments will be provide through tax credits.

We will be highlighting other provisions of the new legislation and providing updates on developments as they become available.

Feel free to contact us if you have questions about this matter.

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The Department of Labor has provided a model workplace poster concerning the new emergency paid sick and family leave requirements of the new Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) which takes effect April 1. The poster for non-federal employees can be found on the DOL’s website at https://www.dol.gov/sites/dolgov/files/WHD/posters/FFCRA_Poster_WH1422_Non-Federal.pdf. 

Yesterday, March 23, Governor Ralph Northam issued Executive Order 53 requiring the closing of certain businesses. The order can be found online at

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