On September 11, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued a new administrative rule concerning the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), a federal law that provides two forms of COVID-19-related paid time off to employees of businesses with fewer than 500 employees. The rule comes just over a month after a New York federal court rejected substantial portions of the agency’s prior FFCRA guidance in State of New York v. U.S. Department of Labor et al., No. 1:20-cv-03020 (S.D.N.Y. Aug. 3, 2020). And while the new rule does include some revisions based on the court’s critiques, it mostly doubles down on several of the DOL’s prior interpretations of the FFCRA that were rejected by the Court. More particularly, in the new rule, the DOL:
- Reaffirms that an employee may only take FFCRA leave if the employer has work available for the employee.
- Reaffirms that intermittent FFCRA leave may only be taken with an employer’s approval.
- Narrows the definition of the term “health care provider” (although still not as narrowly as that term is defined in other federal statutes).
- Revises the FFCRA’s documentation requirement to provide that paperwork supporting the need for leave may be given “as soon as practicable” (as opposed to before the leave commences).
The new rule took effect on September 16, 2020 and will remain in place through December 31, 2020, when the FFCRA is set to expire.
Continue Reading DOL doubles-down on FFCRA rules (but amends others) in response to federal court decision