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DOL Releases Additional Guidance on Families First Coronavirus Response Act

By: Elizabeth Bolduc, Esq.

ebolduc@bugbeelawyers.com

On Thursday, The Department of Labor (DOL) released additional guidance on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), including “Field Assistance Bulletin No. 2020-1: Temporary Non-Enforcement Period Applicable to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act” and model Notices of Employee Rights Under The Paid Sick Leave and Expanded Family and Medical Leave under the FFCRA

The DOL has announced it will not sue employers for violation of the FFCRA through April 17, 2020, provided that the employer has made “reasonable, good faith efforts to comply with the Act.” An employer acts “reasonably” and “in good faith” when:

  1. the employer remedies any violations, including by making all affected employees whole as soon as practicable. 
  2. The violations of the Act were not “willful.”  (i.e. whether the employer either knew or showed reckless disregard for the matter of whether its conduct was prohibited…”)
  3. The Department receives a written commitment from the employer to comply with the FFCRA in the future.

 The department will retain its right to exercise its enforcement  and make the violated parties whole if an employer willfully violate the act, fails to provide written commitment to comply with the FFCRA in the future, or fails to remedy the violation.

 

The FFCRA also requires employers post a workplace poster notifying employees of their rights under the FFCRA in a conspicuous place on the employer’s premises. But what about employees who are working from home? The Department of Labor has made clear employers can meet this requirement by emailing or direct mailing the poster to those employees or posting it on an employee information internal or external website. In a FAQ, the DOL explained employer are not obligated to share the notice with laid-off workers or new applicants, but it must do so for new hires.

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