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Labor Dept. releases new guidance in response to Families First Coronavirus Response Act

March 26, 2020

By Jennifer Garvin

Graphic for H.R. 6201

Washington — The U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division released new guidance March 26 to help workers and employers understand provisions included in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

The new guidance includes two posters, one for federal workers and one for all other employees, that all covered employers are obligated to post — either in their office or by informing employees via email or direct mail — in order to inform them about their rights under the new law. The Labor Dept. information also includes a questions and answers sheet about all posting requirements, including where it should be placed.

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which became law March 18, requires certain employers to provide employees with paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave for “specified reasons related to COVID-19.” The provisions go into effect from April 1 until Dec. 31 of this year and apply to certain public and private employers with fewer than 500 employees.

One important note from the guidance is that small businesses with fewer than 50 employees “may qualify for exemption from the requirement.” The Department of Labor has said it will provide updated guidance on this exemption in April. (The ADA has also asked that dental offices be exempt under this provision.)

According to the guidance, employees of covered employers are eligible for:

• Two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick leave at the employee’s regular rate of pay if the employee is unable to work for these qualifying reasons related to COVID-19: the employee is subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order; has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine; or is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and is seeking a medical diagnosis.

• Two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick leave at two-thirds of the employee’s regular rate of pay if the employee is unable to work because they are caring for an individual in self-quarantine or isolation, and “if they are experiencing any other substantially-similar condition specified by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.”

• Up to an additional 10 weeks of “paid, expanded family and medical leave at two-thirds the employee’s regular rate of pay” if the employee is “unable to work due to a bona fide need for leave to care for a child whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19.” This would apply to employees who have been employed at least 30 calendar days.

Visit ADA.org/virus for the latest ADA information on COVID-19.