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The Department of Labor Issues New Guidance Explaining Paid Sick Leave and Expanded Family and Medical Leave Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act

On March 24th, the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division issued its first round of guidance regarding the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

You’ll find it here. Yesterday, it issued round II.

The new guidance includes two new posters, one for federal workers and the other for all other employees. Posting them will satisfy the FFCRA’s mandate that employers tell employees about their rights under the law.

The new guidance also includes questions and answers about the posting requirements.

And, it includes a field assistance bulletin that describes the Wage and Hour Division’s 30-day, limited moratorium on enforcing the statute.

Here are some of the key takeaways:

  • Each covered employer must post an FFCRA notice in a conspicuous place at the workplace. Employers may satisfy that requirement by e-mailing or direct mailing the notice to employees, including new hires, or posting the notice on an employee information website.
  • For now, the notice need not be posted in multiple languages. The English version will suffice.  But, the Department of Labor is translating it into other languages.  Employers should monitor the Wage and Hour Division’s website to remain up to date with the Division’s notice requirements.
  • Since the FFCRA applies only to current employees, employers do not have to give the notice with job applicants or employees who have been laid off.
  • Covered employers must post the notice, even if state or local law is more demanding than the FFCRA.  
  • If employees daily report to the employer’s main office and then depart to work at other locations, if employees can easily see the notice at the main office, the employer need not display it at the other locations.
  • If employees report directly to the site at which they work, not the employer’s main office, the employer should post all required federal notice notices at each worksite, even if the buildings are located in the same general vicinity, such as in an industrial park or on a campus.
  • If an employer has breakrooms on each floor and a main lunchroom, the employer may post the notice in the lunchroom, if all employees regularly visit it. If not, the employer must post the notice in each break room, in another location, or other locations at which employees on each floor can easily see it.
  • Between March 18, 2020 and April 17, 2020, the Department of Labor will bring no FFRA enforcement actions against employers that have made reasonable, good faith efforts to comply with the statute.  To fall within this safe harbor,
    • The employer must remedy its violations, including by making all affected employees whole as soon as practicable;
    • The violation must not be “willful”; and
    • The employer must commit, in writing, to the Department of Labor that the employer will comply with the FFCRA in the future.
  • If the employer (i) willfully violates the Act; (ii) fails to commit, in writing to comply with it in the future, or (iii) fails promptly to remedy the violation, the Department, reserves its right to exercise its full enforcement authority.
  • After April 17, 2020, Department of Labor will fully enforce the FFCRA, as appropriate and consistent with applicable law.

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