The Washington Report
April 22, 2020
Note to subscribers: Due to the current environment, information is changing at a rapid rate. While we do our best to provide timely updates, it is possible that the information shared in the newsletter may change or be revised after our publication deadline. Stay healthy and safe! ~The Washington Report team
DOL Updates FFCRA FAQs
On April 20, 2020, the Department of Labor (DOL) updated its existing Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The FFCRA gives businesses with fewer than 500 employees funds to provide employees with paid sick and family and medical leave for reasons related to COVID-19, either for the employee's own health needs or to care for family members. Workers may receive up to 80 hours of paid sick leave for their own health needs or to care for others and up to an additional ten weeks of paid family leave to care for a child whose school or place of care is closed or child care provider is closed or unavailable due to COVID-19 precautions. The latest DOL questions are listed below:
- How do I compute the number of hours of paid sick leave for my employee who has irregular hours?
- How do I compute the number of hours I must pay my employee who has irregular hours for each day of expanded family and medical leave taken?
- How do I compute my employee’s average regular rate for the purpose of the FFCRA?
- How do I compute the average regular rate of my employee who is paid a fixed salary each work week?
- May I round when computing the number of hours of paid sick leave I must provide an employee with an irregular schedule or the number of hours I must pay such an employee for each day of expanded family and medical leave taken?
- What six-month period is used to calculate the regular rate under the FFCRA when, for example, my employee takes paid sick leave, gets better, and then one week (or one month or three months) later, takes expanded family and medical leave? Or perhaps the employee takes intermittent leave throughout several months in 2020? In other words, do I have to determine and review a new six-month period every time my employee takes leave?
- Under what circumstances may an employer require an employee to use his or her existing leave under a company policy and when does the choice belong to the employee under the [DOL's] regulations, specifically 29 CFR 826.23(c), 826.24(d), 826.60(b), and 826.160(c)?
- Are stay-at-home and shelter-in-place orders the same as quarantine or isolation orders? If so, when can I take leave under the FFCRA for reasons relating to one of those orders?
- If my employer refuses to provide paid sick leave or refuses to compensate me for taking paid sick leave, and the Department brings an enforcement action on my behalf, am I entitled to recover just the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour of leave, or can I recover the entire amount due under the FFCRA?
Please note that some government websites are experiencing technological issues due to increased traffic. Readers may have to cut and paste the links below to access the information.
The updated FAQs on the FFCRA are available at: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-questions
The DOL’s “COVID-19 and the American Workplace” web page, which includes Fact Sheets, FAQs, posters, a Field Assistance Bulletin, and webinar information, is available at: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic
DOL Ends Temporary Non-Enforcement of Paid Leave Protections Under FFCRA
On April 20, 2020, the DOL announced the end of the temporary period of non-enforcement of paid leave protections under the FFCRA. The non-enforcement period allowed the DOL’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) to offer extensive guidance and education about the law’s requirements, which enabled employers covered by the new law to come into compliance as the nation continues to battle the coronavirus pandemic. The WHD has stated that “educational outreach efforts will continue as enforcement begins in order to ensure compliance with the law and to maximize its benefits for workers and employers alike.”
The news release is available at: https://www.dol.gov/newsroom/releases/whd/whd20200420
IRS Issues New FAQs on Refundable Tax Credits for Small and Midsize Employers Under FFCRA
On April 17, 2020, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) posted new FAQs regarding COVID-19-related tax credits for required paid sick and family leave provided by small and midsize businesses under the FFCRA. The FFCRA provides small and midsize employers refundable tax credits that reimburse them, dollar-for-dollar, for the cost of providing paid sick and family leave wages to their employees for leave related to COVID-19.
The new FAQs are available here.
EEOC Updates COVID-19 Technical Publication; Includes Section of Common Workplace Questions
On April 17, 2020, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) posted an updated and expanded technical assistance publication addressing questions arising under the federal equal employment opportunity (EEO) laws related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The publication, What You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws, expands on a previous publication that focused on the Americans with Disabilities (ADA) and Rehabilitation Act, and adds questions-and-answers to anticipating return to work situations, making reasonable accommodations, and harassment.
The updated What You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws publication is available here.
Additional COVID-19 resources available from the EEOC are available here.
If you elect to comment or engage with our content via third-party social media websites, you authorize Aon to have access to certain social media profile information. Please click here to learn more about information that may be collected when using these tools on Aon.com