DOL Guidance for Employers: Action Needed for April 1

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While we patiently await more information and clarifications from the Department of Labor (DOL) on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), there were some important pieces of guidance released by the DOL this week related to the paid leave due to COVID-19 issues.

Here is some of the latest guidance, and action required for employers:

Effective Date. The paid leave provisions take effect on April 1, 2020 and end on December 31, 2020. The provisions of the law apply to leave taken within this time period.  Paid leave taken prior to April 1 is not provided under FFCRA and cannot be counted against the Act’s leave claims.  The IRS has stated, though, that leave taken prior to April 1 will still count toward tax credits available under the Act.

Employee Rights Notice – Poster. The employment poster provided by the DOL is required to be displayed either in a “conspicuous place” in the workplace, on an “employee information internal or external website”, or emailed/mailed to all current employees, by April 1, 2020.

Small Business Exception. We expect to learn more soon from the DOL regarding criteria for employers with less than 50 employees who need to claim an exemption from providing Emergency FMLA leave due to viability concerns, but here’s what we know now. While these employers will be required to document why they meet the criteria, they will not be required to send the documentation to the DOL.

Transition Period. Prior to April 18, 2020, the DOL will not bring enforcement action against any employer (private or public) that has made “reasonable good faith efforts to comply with FFCRA.”  (There are a few exclusions: if an employer does not remedy any violations, if the employer knew actions were prohibited and showed reckless disregard, and if there is no written commitment made to the DOL to show future compliance.)

This summary was intended to be a high-level overview of these recently released DOL guidelines.  Should you have questions regarding these provisions in full detail, and their applicability, contact your K·Coe advisor. 

Stay tuned for more DOL guidelines and clarifications – expected to be released soon.  In the meantime, visit K·Coe’s COVID-19 Resources & Updates page for useful information and guidance on FFCRA.


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