In a news release shared from the DOL late last night, there is some new guidance available for employees and employers to review for compliance and to be ready for the new regulations in place starting April 1, 2020. This guidance is designed to help workers avoid having to decide between earning a paycheck and the public health measures being issued around the globe. The regulations are designed to help support small organizations through tax programs and offset the costs of paying for sick leave. For general information on the regulations, please refer to our previous Blog posting - Coronavirus Federal and State Laws - Things HR Needs to Know Now.
With the new update, and what we have learned from the experts - here are the things we think HR and business leaders should know now.
The Paid Sick Leave and Expanded FMLA rules run concurrently and can be taken together - First 2 weeks (80 hours) paid under the paid sick leave, followed by 10 weeks of paid leave under Expanded FMLA.
FMLA still applies as it always did - this is just an add on regulation - those employers covered by FMLA continue to be covered by FMLA
The FFRCA will apply to all active employees working on April 1, 2020
Information presented in the DOL's employer-paid leave page specifies employees are eligible for leave for the number of hours that they are normally scheduled to work over that period
Employer Notice: Each covered employer must post in a conspicuous place on its premises a notice of FFCRA requirements. (DOL has advised the notices should be available on March 25, 2020)
Prohibitions: Employers may not discharge, discipline, or otherwise discriminate against any employee who takes expanded family and medical leave under the FFCRA and files a complaint or institutes a proceeding under or related to the FFCRA.
The Department will observe a temporary period of non-enforcement for the first 30 days after the Act takes effect, so long as the employer has acted reasonably and in good faith to comply with the Act.
For purposes of this non-enforcement position, “good faith” exists when violations are remedied, and the employee is made whole as soon as practicable by the employer, the violations were not willful, and the Department receives a written commitment from the employer to comply with the Act in the future.
Wage and Hour Division does not administer this aspect of the law but notes that every dollar of expanded family and medical leave (plus the cost of the employer’s health insurance premiums during leave) will be 100% covered by a dollar-for-dollar refundable tax credit available to the employer.
Frequently Asked Questions:
As always, we encourage you to connect with your leaders in HR, your legal counsel, and your partners to help you work through the specifics of this new Act and build good strategies for your company's needs. For more information, please contact HRx Services.