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News & Insights


Department of Labor issues official FAQ on Families First Act

Mar 25, 2020

Late Tuesday night, the Department of Labor issued an official Frequently Asked Questions in regards to the recently passed Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

The DOL subsequently released additional guidance on March 27 addressed here.

READ NOW: Our complete Families First coverage

Here are a few key takeaways:

  • The effective date of the Act is April 1, 2020.  It is not retroactive and benefits provided prior to this date, even if consistent with the Act, do not count towards the new requirements and presumably are not eligible for the tax credits allowed under the Act.
  • Whether an employer is covered is determined by the number of employees as of the date the leave is requested.  For purposes of determining whether there are 500 or fewer (and thus the employer is covered), the term “employee” is defined broadly to include employees on leave and temporary employees (even if employed by a temporary agency and working at the employer’s location, if a joint employer).
  • Interrelated but legally separate companies are separate employers unless they meet the “joint employment” test under the FLSA and the “integrated employer test” under the FMLA.
  • The term “emergency responder” has not been defined and the definition of “healthcare provider” under the FMLA has not been expanded. 
  • To meet the “small business” exemption, an employer with less than fifty employees must document the reasons why providing the leave would jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern.  The Department promises more details and instructions to follow.
  • Overtime hours (but not overtime premiums) must be included in the calculation of paid leave.
  • The total number of paid leave a full-time employee can take under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act is 80 hours.
  • An employee who takes leave to care for a child whose school is closed for COVID-19 related reasons may be eligible for twelve weeks of paid leave under the FFA.

Click here to read the complete FAQ document.

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