Department of Labor Publishes Its First Guidance on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and a Model Notice of Employee Rights
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) published its first guidance on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which expands Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) coverage and provides emergency paid sick leave in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Most significantly, the DOL has decided that the FFCRA will go into effect April 1, 2020, not April 2, 2020, as many assumed. Therefore, covered employers, which include all private employers employing fewer than 500 employees, must comply with the law from April 1 until it expires December 31, 2020.
The DOL also produced a model notice of rights, which each covered employer is required to post “in a conspicuous place on its premises.” The DOL has a version of the notice for private employers and another for federal employees.
Additionally, the DOL published a FAQ page regarding the notice requirements. Currently, employers only have to provide the notice to employees, including new hires, and are not required to post this notice in multiple languages or to share the notice with recently laid-off individuals or job applicants.
The FFCRA says only that the notice must be physically posted “on the premises of the employer.”
With most people teleworking because of the coronavirus pandemic, the DOL states that in the FAQ that an employer may “satisfy this [posting] requirement by emailing or direct mailing this notice to employees, or posting this notice on an employee information internal or external website.”
This raises the question of whether such electronic posting is mandatory if many or most of an employer’s workforce is working remotely. The DOL has not answered that question, but is expected to issue regulations on the FFCRA soon. The fact that the DOL has recognized the need for electronic posting, however, suggests that employers may later be required to provide such notice to remote workers.
Employers should review the DOL guidance, post the notice with other required notices and email or mail a copy of the applicable notice to any employee working remotely.
If you have any questions, please contact Charles R. Bacharach.
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Charles R. Bacharach
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