By: Michelle D. Patrick, Esq.
As the country starts to re-open employees are being called back to work. School is over in many places and in the past, employees would have made childcare arrangements using camps or daycares. However, in many areas summer camps are not opening, either now or at all, and daycares are not reopening or reopening in a limited capacity. What can you do, are there any leave options available?
The Federal Family Cares Relief Act (FFCRA) was created, in part, to provide relief to employees who could not work for a variety of reasons including those unable to work because of school and daycare closures due to COVID-19. The FFCRA, which went into effect on April 1, 2020, provides eligible employees with a combination of full and partially paid leave under the Emergency Family Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLEA) and the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA). Employees are entitled to 2 weeks of paid sick leave under the EPSLA and up to 12 weeks of partially paid leave under the EFMLEA.
The good news is, that because the FFCRA specifically applies to employees unable to work because of childcare closures due to COVID-19, employees may still be eligible for leave under FFCRA’s leave provisions. The Department of Labor (DOL) confirmed that employees may still be eligible for leave if their child’s summer camp or daycare is closed because of COVID-19. DOL clarified that employees are not entitled to leave because school is closed for the summer but rather because the summer provider, be it a camp or daycare, is closed due to COVID-19.
There are of course many caveats and situations where the FFCRA would not apply or an employee would only be eligible for partial leave. It is important to consult with an employment attorney to discuss your specific situation and to determine if you are entitled to leave under the FFCRA. The attorneys at The Ezold Law Firm, P.C. are available to provide advice and counsel to assist you in securing the Federal benefits for which you qualify.