DOL Announces Temporary Paid Leave Rule on Families First Coronavirus Response Act

Author: David B. Weisenfeld, XpertHR Legal Editor

April 2, 2020

The US Department of Labor (DOL) has announced a temporary rule relating to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). Under the temporary rule, effective from April 1 to December 31, 2020, the DOL gives direction for administering emergency paid sick leave as well as emergency expanded paid family and medical leave during the COVID-19 global pandemic.

The FFCRA made millions of US workers eligible for paid leave for the first time, but excludes employers with more than 500 employees. It requires, among other things, that covered employers provide up to two weeks of paid sick leave (up to 80 hours) to employees who must take leave from work for reasons related to COVID-19.

In its rule, the DOL notes that reasons for taking emergency paid sick leave may include:

  • The employee, or someone the employee is caring for, is subject to a government quarantine order or a health care provider has advised them to self-quarantine;
  • The employee is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and is seeking medical attention; or
  • The employee is caring for a child whose school or place of childcare is closed or unavailable due to COVID-19.

The DOL also provides direction relating to the administration of emergency family and medical leave. The Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (which is part of the FFCRA) requires that covered employers provide up to 10 weeks of paid and two weeks of unpaid emergency leave if an employee is caring for a child or children whose school or place of childcare is closed for coronavirus-related reasons.

"With so many workers and so many employers struggling with the effects of these unprecedented conditions, this rule provides answers and relief," said DOL Wage and Hour Division Administrator Cheryl Stanton. "We remain committed to providing the information and tools required for employees and employers alike to be fully informed about their rights under this new law."