As families cope with a revolving door of opening, closing and re-opening of in-person learning, employers should be aware of recently released supplemental guidance regarding child-care leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”).
Because schools have a variety of reopening plans and options, it is important to carefully review the specifics of each individual situation. As a reminder, the FFCRA provides up to 12 weeks of leave to eligible employees if they need to care for their child if (a) the child’s school or place of care is closed, or (b) the child care provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19-related reasons. According to the USDOL, “generally, an employee does not need to take such leave if another suitable individual — such as a co-parent, co-guardian, or the usual child care provider — is available to provide the care the employee’s child needs.”
This leave is paid at two-thirds of the employee’s regular rate, up to a maximum of $200 per day or $12,000 total. Employers may seek a dollar for dollar payroll tax credit for any amounts paid under the FFCRA.
Employers should request and maintain documentation to support all FFCRA childcare-related leave requests. This documentation should include:
- Employee’s name;
- Dates they are requesting leave;
- Reason for the leave;
- Statement that they are unable to work because of that reason;
- Name of their child;
- Name of the place of care or childcare provider that is closed or unavailable; and
- Statement that no other suitable person is available to care for their child.
Below are questions and answers to some of the more commonly asked questions we have received regarding FFCRA leave. If you have concerns not addressed below, please contact HDRB&B’s Employment Department Chair Heather Adelman or the HDRB&B attorney with whom you normally work.
Q. My employee’s child’s school is not conducting in-person learning and all learning will be virtual. Is my employee eligible for FFCRA leave?
A. Yes. Because the school is closed to the students for in-person learning, an employee who cannot work or telework and who is caring for their child, would be eligible for FFCRA leave.
Q. My employee has opted to not send their child to school due to the Coronavirus, but their school district is offering in-person learning. Is my employee eligible for leave under the FFCRA?
A. No. The child’s school or place of care is open and available. Therefore, the employee is not eligible for FFCRA leave.
Q. What if the school is offering a hybrid option and is open some days but virtual on others? Is my employee eligible for leave under the FFCRA?
A. In this instance, the employee would be eligible for leave on the days that the school is closed for in-person learning, if the employee is caring for the child and no other suitable person is available for childcare.