The Department of Labor Issues New Guidance on the Reopening of Schools
The Department of Labor (DOL) has updated its guidance on requests for leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) due to school closure for COVID-19 related reasons. The updated guidance clarifies when an employee may be entitled to leave in the context of remote and hybrid learning (Questions 98-100):
• If an employee’s child is required to engage in hybrid learning (in-person attendance at school on some days and remote learning from home on others), the employee is eligible for FFCRA leave when the child is home engaging in remote learning, as long the employee needs the leave to actually care for their child and no other suitable person is available to watch their child. The DOL has taken the position that school is effectively “closed” to children on days they cannot attend in person.
• If the school provides the option of either in-person or remote instruction, and the employee chooses the remote learning alternative, the employee is not eligible for FFCRA leave because the child’s school is not “closed” due to COVID-19.
• If the school is requiring students to initially start the school year with remote instruction, but leaves open the possibility for in-person attendance later in the school year, an employee is eligible to take leave under the FFCRA while their child is engaging in required remote learning, as long as the employee needs the leave to actually care for their child and no other suitable person is available to watch their child. Whether the employee is entitled to take leave later in the school year depends on the particulars of the school’s reopening.
The full DOL FAQ can be found here: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-questions
The Attorneys at Levene Gouldin & Thompson, LLP are available to provide advice and counsel concerning matters related to COVID-19.