By Erica Kasper
Content Marketing Manager
On September 11, the Department of Labor issued some revised regulations for the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). You may recall that the FFCRA mandates that employers with fewer than 500 employees offer paid sick leave and expanded Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave to employees affected by COVID-19. These revised regulations have been issued in response to the Federal court ruling in early August that invalidated some of the original regulations. Of the four regulations that had been ruled invalid, two have now been clarified, and the other two have been amended.
The new regulations, which went into effect September 16, state the following:
- Employees are not eligible for FFCRA leave if they don’t have any work available to them.
- Intermittent FFCRA leave can’t be taken without the employer’s consent. Taking time off to juggle a child’s school schedule doesn’t count for intermittent leave unless the school or care provider is closed for COVID-19 (hybrid school schedules do not apply).
- Employees can be required to give notice for expanded FMLA leave (childcare leave, in most cases) “as soon as practicable,” which often means before the leave is taken. Documentation for the leave can also now be required “as soon as practicable,” which will usually be when the leave is requested. The regulations for sick leave were not changed.
- The definition of a “health care provider” that can be excluded from FFCRA provisions has been narrowed. Now, a “health care provider” includes doctors/nurse practitioners, employees who conduct diagnostic services (taking or processing samples, taking X-rays, etc.), employees who conduct preventative services (screenings and checkups to prevent disease or other issues), employees who conduct treatment services (prescribing medication, performing surgery, conducting breathing treatments and physical therapy), and employees who conduct integrated and necessary services (feeding, bathing, taking vitals, transporting patients, etc.). The change here is that this definition no longer includes anyone who works in or around a health care facility; employees like IT staff, cooks, HR workers, accounting/finance staff, etc. are not defined as “health care workers” for the purposes of this regulation, even if they work at a hospital or medical office.
If you are an employer with fewer than 500 employees, you must be sure to follow these revised regulations regarding FFCRA leave. This is especially true for employers in medical fields who had previously been identifying all employees as “health care providers,” since that may no longer be the case under the new guidance. For more information, please Click Here to read the Department of Labor’s news release on the updates. For more information and resources about COVID-19 regulations and how they impact your business, please Click Here to visit the Greenshades COVID-19 resources page.