On July 20, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced the agency’s publication of additional questions and answers about the operation of the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) in workplace situations involving COVID-19.
The DOL’s new guidance on COVID-19 and the FLSA addresses topics such as teleworking and compensable time, maintaining employees’ exempt and nonexempt status and hazard pay. The new guidance on COVID-19 and the FMLA adds questions on whether a telemedicine appointment can establish a serious medical condition under the statute, and whether the FMLA prohibits employers from requiring a COVID-19 test of employees returning from FMLA leave.
Issues addressed by the DOL’s additional Q&As on the FFCRA include requiring employees returning from FFCRA leave to be tested for COVID-19 and the availability of FFCRA leave after a furlough.
Employers should review the updated guidance and resources on the DOL’s COVID-19 and the American Workplace website. Due to the complexity of the federal statutes, and their interaction with state and local laws, employers with leave related questions who have HR Works’ Virtual Helpline Service are encouraged to reach out to the Virtual Helpline for assistance.