The U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) issued temporary regulations for the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”) on April 1, 2020. The regulations answer a number of questions regarding the interpretation of the FFCRA.
In particular, the regulations interpret “quarantine or isolation orders” to include “a broad range of governmental orders, including orders that advise some or all citizens to shelter in place, stay at home, quarantine, or otherwise restrict their own mobility.” This clarifies that an employee may take paid sick leave only if being subject to such an order is the factor that prevents the employee from working or teleworking. Please note that an employee subject to one of these orders may not take paid sick leave where the employer does not have work for the employee (for example, because the employer is temporarily or indefinitely closed for business). This is because the employee would be unable to work even if he or she were required to comply with the quarantine or isolation order. The inclusion of shelter in place and stay at home orders within the definition of “quarantine or isolation orders” was not anticipated based on the regular use of those terms by, among others, the Centers for Disease Control. Nevertheless, the DOL regulations should be followed by employers.
The regulations additionally provide clarifications and interpretations of the FFCRA, including:
Lastly, the DOL will be posting on its website a pre-recorded webinar on Friday, April 3, 2020, to provide further details concerning the FFCRA, including informing employers how to comply their FFCRA obligations for those subject to it.
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