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Government & Trade

U.S. Department of Labor Opens National Online Dialogue on Paid Family and Medical Leave and Paid Sick Leave

DOL hosts a national online dialogue to help employers and workers understand their responsibilities and rights, respectively, under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

3/26/2020
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The U.S. Department of Labor is hosting a national online dialogue, Providing Expanded Family and Medical Leave to Employees Affected by COVID-19, to help employers and workers understand their responsibilities and rights, respectively, under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).

The public, including employers, workers and their advocacy groups can participate in this national online dialogue through Sunday, March 29, 2020 by signing up here.

In addition, the department offered more guidance to workers and employers about how each will be able to take advantage of the protections and relief offered by the FFCRA when it takes effect on April 1, 2020The guidance includes two new posters, one for federal workers and one for all other employees, that will fulfill notice requirements for employers obligated to inform employees about their rights under this new law. It also includes questions and answers about posting requirements, and a Field Assistance Bulletin describing WHD's 30-day non-enforcement policy. The new guidance addresses critical issues such as whether employers may post required notice electronically, whether employers must provide notice of this law to recently laid-off individuals, when FFCRA applies to federal workers and when enforcement of the new rules will begin.

PAID LEAVE

On March 18, 2020, the president signed into law the FFCRA, requiring certain employers to provide employees with paid family and medical leave or paid sick leave for specified reasons in response to COVID-19. 

The department's Wage and Hour Division (WHD) will administer and enforce the paid leave provisions of the FFCRA. The provisions will apply from their effective date through Dec. 31, 2020.

Generally, the FFCRA provides that employees of covered employers are eligible for:
  • Two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick time at the employee's regular rate of pay where the employee is unable to work because the employee is quarantined (pursuant to federal, state, or local government order or advice of a healthcare provider), and/or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis; or
  • Two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick time at two-thirds the employee's regular rate of pay because the employee is unable to work because of a need to care for an individual subject to quarantine (pursuant to federal, state, or local government order or advice of a healthcare provider), or to care for a child (under 18 years of age) whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19, and/or the employee is experiencing a substantially similar condition as specified by the Department of Health and Human Services; and
  • Up to an additional 10 weeks of paid family and medical leave at two-thirds the employee's regular rate of pay where an employee, who has been employed for at least 30 calendar days, is unable to work due to a need for leave to care for a child whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19.
This national online dialogue provides an opportunity for employers and workers to play a key role in shaping the development of the Department of Labor's compliance assistance materials and outreach strategies related to the implementation of FFCRA. WHD will use the ideas and comments gathered from this dialogue to develop compliance assistance guidance, resources and tools, as well as outreach approaches that assist employers and workers in understanding their responsibilities and rights under the paid leave provisions of the FFCRA.

"This innovative national online dialogue seeks input from key stakeholders about the best ways we can help employers and workers understand their responsibilities and rights under the FFCRA in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic," said Wage and Hour Division Administrator Cheryl Stanton. "It's an important discussion that will allow the Wage and Hour Division to develop compliance assistance materials that are responsive to the evolving needs of American employers and workers."

The department's Office of Compliance Initiatives (OCI), in partnership with WHD and the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), will host the online dialogue. ODEP's PolicyWorks will facilitate the dialogue initiative. Register here to participate.

OCI is part of the department's Office of the Assistant Secretary for Policy. It aims to foster a compliance assistance culture within the department, complement its enforcement efforts and improve compliance assistance outreach. Through Worker.gov and Employer.gov, OCI provides information about worker rights and employer responsibilities.

MORE GUIDANCE FOR EMPLOYERS & EMPLOYEES

FFCRA will give 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. For more information on FFCRA, the department has posted a Fact Sheet for Employees, a Fact Sheet for Employers and a Questions and Answers document.

The mission of the Department of Labor is to foster, promote and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.

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