Guidance on FFCRA and Hybrid and Online Schools
Many companies are working with employees as they navigate the various back to school options and whether those employees are eligible for FFCRA leave. The Department of Labor (DOL) recently released three FAQs relating to some of the various back to school options, the FAQs are provided below. All of the other eligibility requirements of the FFCRA are still in place, however, the below FAQs provide additional interpretation of the meaning of "closed" in “school or place of care is closed.”
From the DOL:
98. My child’s school is operating on an alternate day (or other hybrid-attendance) basis. The school is open each day, but students alternate between days attending school in person and days participating in remote learning. They are permitted to attend school only on their allotted in-person attendance days. May I take paid leave under the FFCRA in these circumstances? (added 08/27/2020)
A. Yes, you are eligible to take paid leave under the FFCRA on days when your child is not permitted to attend school in person and must instead engage in remote learning, as long as you need the leave to actually care for your child during that time and only if no other suitable person is available to do so. For purposes of the FFCRA and its implementing regulations, the school is effectively “closed” to your child on days that he or she cannot attend in person. You may take paid leave under the FFCRA on each of your child’s remote-learning days.
Choice of online or in-person
99. My child’s school is giving me a choice between having my child attend in person or participate in a remote learning program for the fall. I signed up for the remote learning alternative because, for example, I worry that my child might contract COVID-19 and bring it home to the family. Since my child will be at home, may I take paid leave under the FFCRA in these circumstances? (added 08/27/2020)
A. No, you are not eligible to take paid leave under the FFCRA because your child’s school is not “closed” due to COVID–19 related reasons; it is open for your child to attend. FFCRA leave is not available to take care of a child whose school is open for in-person attendance. If your child is home not because his or her school is closed, but because you have chosen for the child to remain home, you are not entitled to FFCRA paid leave. However, if, because of COVID-19, your child is under a quarantine order or has been advised by a health care provider to self-isolate or self-quarantine, you may be eligible to take paid leave to care for him or her. See FAQ 63.
Also, as explained more fully in FAQ 98, if your child’s school is operating on an alternate day (or other hybrid-attendance) basis, you may be eligible to take paid leave under the FFCRA on each of your child’s remote-learning days because the school is effectively “closed” to your child on those days.
Temporary Remote Learning
100. My child’s school is beginning the school year under a remote learning program out of concern for COVID-19, but has announced it will continue to evaluate local circumstances and make a decision about reopening for in-person attendance later in the school year. May I take paid leave under the FFCRA in these circumstances? (added 08/27/2020)
A. Yes, you are eligible to take paid leave under the FFCRA while your child’s school remains closed. If your child's school reopens, the availability of paid leave under the FFCRA will depend on the particulars of the school’s operations. See FAQ 98 and 99.
You can access all of the FAQs here: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-questions.
As always feel free to contact SPMB with any questions or follow-up. I hope you are all doing well and staying safe.
For more information on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and other communications relating to the Coronavirus, please contact one of our labor and employment law attorneys. You may also visit our COVID-19 Resource Center.
For questions relating to this article, please contact one of our labor and employment law attorneys.
Disclaimer: This information is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended, nor should it be construed or relied on, as legal advice. Please consult your attorney if specific legal information is desired.