COVID-19 Paid Leave And DOL Adds Another 20 FAQS

 In Small Business Legal Help

Additional FAQs from the Department of Labor

April 6, 2020, DOL issues 20 more FAQs

The United States Department of Labor (DOL) publishes the 4th round of FAQs after the release of its 124 pages of regulations (Regs).  Here’s a link you’ll want to bookmark (Click Here for slide deck) because it’s a simple slide deck summarizing the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (Act).  If you are still looking for more guidance or clarity then check out the following:

  1. The other 6 blog articles we have here about COVID-19 emergency paid leave.
  2. At the bottom of this article are links to other COVID-19 resources for business owners.
  3. Friday’s blog article for a summary of the DOLs 124 Regs.
  4. Wednesday’s blog article for a compliance to-do list which also explains what documentation you should be requiring from employees. 
  5. Or we’ve got 3 recorded webinars you could watch:

We’ve tried to make it easy and affordable for you to be compliant with Model COVID-19 Policy Forms you can order from us HERE.

Not sure how you feel, but to keep my sanity, I try to avoid social media over the weekends.  Needless to say, I wanted to cry this morning when I saw that the DOL had added another 20 questions and answers about the emergency paid sick leave. . .  Here’s a brief summary of what you need to know!

  • No paid emergency leave if the employee unilaterally decides to self-quarantine for an illness without medical advice, even if an employee has COVID-19 symptoms.
  • A school is considered “closed” even if the school provides “online” or “distance learning” instruction.  
  • For leave to care for a child, only ONE person should care for the child so if there’s another parent or caretaker to care for the child then the employee may not qualify for such leave.
  • To calculate pay for seasonal employees you must:
    • Figure out how many hours of leave the seasonal employee is entitled to each day (Daily Hours of Leave) by averaging the number of hours each day that he or she was scheduled to work over the period of employment, up to the last 6 months.
    • Calculate the seasonal employee’s hourly rate of pay by adding up all wages paid over the period of employment, up to the last 6 months, then divide by the number of hours actually worked (Regular Rate of Pay).
    • Multiply the Daily Hours of Leave by the Regular Rate of Pay to compute the base daily paid leave amount.
    • The actual daily paid leave amount will depend on the type of leave taken.  
  • Seasonal employees who are not scheduled to work (because it is the off-season) do not qualify for emergency paid leave.
  • No emergency paid leave for employees who are receiving workers’ compensation or temporary disability benefits through an employer or state-provided plan.
  • An employee who is already on an employer-approved leave of absence may end the leave of absence and begin taking emergency paid leave if a qualifying reason prevents the employee from being able to work or telework.  
  • The DOL will not bring enforcement action for violations of the Act that occur on or before April 17, 2020, provided that the employer has made reasonable, good faith efforts to comply with the Act.  
  • The DOL will retroactively enforce violations back until the effective date of April 1, 2020, if employers have not remedied violations of the Act.  

Remember as a business owner, the DOL continues to update its previously released FAQs, so you should always check the latest electronic version when you need answers.  You DO NOT have to figure this all out on your own.  Call your trusted advisors: accountant, CPA, payroll company, banker, business and employment attorney.   We want you to succeed and not end up in a crazy legal mess because of a mistake.  Each business is different which means your compliance obligations need to be addressed specifically to your operations. Remember that proper DOCUMENTATION is one of the key components to establish:

  1. You have alerted your employees of their rights and
  2. That you properly responded to their leave request. 

Stay hopeful.  Take it one day at a time.  We are here for you at a socially safe distance, of course! You didn’t start your business to see it fail and Dana Ball has made it easy and affordable to protect your business.

Check out this recent Press Release:  Has Your Business Distributed COVID-19 Policies to Employees Yet?

Links to Bookmark of COVID-19 Resources for Business Owners

DOL Webinar Slide Deck: https://www.dol.gov/sites/dolgov/files/WHD/Pandemic/FFCRA_webinar.pdf

DOL Families First Coronavirus Response Act-Questions and Answershttps://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-questions

IRS Tax Credit FAQ’s: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/covid-19-related-tax-credits-for-required-paid-leave-provided-by-small-and-midsize-businesses-faqs/

EEOC What You Should Know About the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and COVID-19https://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/wysk/wysk_ada_rehabilitaion_act_coronavirus.cfm

FFCRA Temporary Rulehttps://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/ffcra 

DOL Wage & Hour Question and Answers: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-questions

DOL Coronavirus Resources: https://www.dol.gov/coronavirus

DOL Online Dialoguehttps://www.dol.gov/newsroom/releases/whd/whd20200325

DOL Fact Sheet ffcra-employer-paid-leave: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-employer-paid-leave

Utah Division of Workforce Services: https://jobs.utah.gov/covid19/uifaqemployers.pdf

SBA disaster loan application: https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/

Employer Guidance from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce:  https://www.uschamber.com/sites/default/files/guidance_for_employers_to_plan_and_respond_to_the_coronavirus_031620.pdf

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