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March 26, 2020

Legal Update
Gwen Nolan King, Christine M. Netski

Department of Labor issues new COVID-19 guidance for employers

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On March 25, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) issued new guidance for employers regarding paid leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”).  While we await the DOL regulations called for under the FFCRA, this guidance provides initial answers for employers trying to adjust to new obligations in the time of COVID-19.

Non-Enforcement Period under the FFCRA:

In its Field Assistance Bulletin No. 2020-21, the DOL announced it will not bring enforcement actions against any public or private employer for violations of the Act occurring within 30 days of the enactment of the FFCRA, i.e., March 18 through April 17, 2020, provided that the employer has made reasonable, good faith efforts to comply with the Act.  The DOL will deem an employer to have acted “reasonably” and in “good faith” when:

  1. The employer remedies any violation, including by making all affected employees whole as soon as possible.
  2. The violation of the Act was not “willful.”
  3. The Department receives a written commitment form the employer to comply with the Act going forward.

After April 17, 2020, the enforcement stay will be lifted, and the DOL will enforce violations of the FFCRA.

Employers must post FFCRA Notice:

Under the FFCRA, employers must post a notice to employees of their rights under the FFCRA.  A copy of the required notice is provided by the DOL here.

In a FFRCA Notice Frequently Asked Questions, the DOL addressed thirteen (13) questions regarding the posting of the FFCRA Notice.  Among the questions answered, DOL stated that the FFCRA Notice must be posted in a conspicuous place on the premises or an employer may satisfy this requirement by emailing or direct mailing this notice to employees or posting this notice on an employee information internal or external website.

DOL FFCRA “Questions and Answers”:

Pending the regulations called for under the FFCRA, the DOL has addressed common questions in a FFCRA Q&A.  Some of the questions answered include:

Review the complete Q&A here: Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Questions and Answers

Sugarman Rogers is closely following the quickly evolving landscape for employers during the COVID-19 pandemic.  If you have questions or need compliance assistance, please contact Christine M. Netski or Gwen Nolan King