The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has published new frequently asked questions (FAQs) about whether employees qualify for paid leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) in different school reopening situations, including those that offer hybrid learning, which blends in-person with distance learning.
The FFCRA allows certain employees to take up to two weeks of paid sick leave and up to 12 weeks of expanded family and medical leave, 10 of which are paid, for specified reasons related to COVID-19. An eligible employee can take both types of paid leave because of a need to care for the employee’s son or daughter whose school or place of care is closed, or whose childcare provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19 related reasons.
The new FAQs address employee eligibility for expanded family and medical leave and paid sick leave when:
- A child attends a school operating on an alternate-day basis;
- A parent chooses remote learning when in-person instruction is available; and
- A school begins the year with remote learning but may shift to in-person instruction if conditions change.
In general, according to the FAQs, parents qualify for FFCRA leave only on days when in-person learning by the child is not permitted by the school. Parents may be eligible for FFCRA leave if the child has been advised to quarantine or isolate.
Employers are encouraged to review the FAQs prior to administering leave under the FFCRA to ensure an understanding of when leave does or does not apply.