FFCRA Provides Paid Leave Benefits for Back-To-School

August 14, 2020 | Business in education Emily S. Pontius | Kendra D. Simmons, Fredrikson & Byron, P.A., epontius@fredlaw.com | ksimmons@fredlaw.com

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) was signed into law in March, just as school buildings were closing. The Act provides partially paid leave to eligible employees who cannot work because they need to care for children due to school and childcare closures. The Act requires employers with fewer than 500 employees to provide this leave and provides federal dollars to fund the program. The FFCRA does not expire until December 31, so this leave may be critical to back-to-school planning for many families. A few things to keep in mind:

Flexibility is allowed. Employers may grant FFCRA leave intermittently and employees may work remotely when childcare responsibilities allow. If students are in school only 2 days per week or if school closes temporarily due to an outbreak, this flexibility may be key to employee retention and business continuity. Additionally, families may share caregiving responsibilities so a two-parent family can alternate work and caregiving days.

Follow the rules. Funding for FFCRA leave is available only if the employee cannot work remotely due to childcare demands and if no other caregiver is available. Paid leave is not available to care for children over 14 absent special considerations. Employees must substantiate the need for leave so employers can secure reimbursement. Employers should obtain the necessary information and clarify the requirements at the time leave is requested.

Employers should also look for the FFCRA to be extended or other paid leave to be mandated if the pandemic continues into 2021.

Visit Fredrikson’s COVID-19 Employment Question of the Day to navigate the changing business issues related to the pandemic.