On April 1st, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued a new rule that regulates the implementation of the Families First Coronavirus Relief Act (FFCRA) and the paid leave under this new law that became available to employees starting on April 1st. This new rule clarified what records employers can request from employees asking for leave under the FFCRA. Here is what you need to know:
What Is an Employee Required to Provide?
Under the new DOL rule, employees seeking paid leave under either the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSL) or Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLA) must provide an employer with a signed statement containing (1) the employee’s name; (2) the date(s) for which leave is requested; (3) the COVID-19 qualifying reason for leave; and (4) a statement representing that the employee is unable to work or telework because of the COVID-19 qualifying reason.
What Else Can an Employer Ask for?
Depending on the COVID-19 qualifying reason for leave, additional documentation may be required. For example:
- An employee requesting EPSL due to a federal, state or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19 must provide the name of the government entity that issued the quarantine or isolation order to which the employee is subject.
- An employee requesting EPSL due to a health care provider advising self-quarantine due to COVID-19 concerns must provide the name of the health care provider who advised him or her to self-quarantine for COVID-19 related reasons.
- An employee requesting EPSL to care for an individual subject to a quarantine or isolation order, or advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine, must provide either (1) the government entity that issued the quarantine or isolation order to which the individual is subject or (2) the name of the health care provider who advised the individual to self-quarantine, depending on the precise reason for the request.
- For employees seeking EPSL or EFMLA to care for a child due to a school or child care closures or unavailability of child care, they must provide the following: (1) the name of the child being care for; (2) the name of the school, place of care, or child care provider that closed or became unavailable due to COVID-19 reasons; and (3) a statement representing that no other suitable person is available to care for the child during the period of requested leave.
If the employee needs leave for their own serious health condition related to COVID-19, or to care for the employee’s spouse, son, daughter, or parent with a serious health condition related to COVID-19, your normal FMLA certification process still applies.
Attorneys at Skelton, Taintor and Abbott are continuing to monitor the rapidly-changing legal landscape for employers based on the new legislation being enacted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic seemingly every day. For up-to-date information, review our COVID-19 Resource Library and reach out if you have any questions. We are diligently working with our clients to provide practical, cost-effective advice to weather this difficult period.