With the passage of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) earlier this year, employers have been addressing their obligations to provide employees with paid leave for various COVID-19 related reasons, including leave for employees who are not able to work or telework due to a need to care for a child whose school or place of care is closed as a result of the pandemic.
Now that the school year has ended, it is important for employers to understand that this obligation may continue for employees whose leave request results from the closure of summer camps, enrichment or other summer programs, which qualify as a place of care for purposes of the FFCRA.
The Department of Labor has issued guidance to clarify that employees may not take paid FFCRA leave for reasons due to a school being closed for summer vacation, as that is not related to COVID-19. However, employees will be eligible for FFCRA leave if the pandemic disrupted their plan to send their child to a summer camp or other program that is closed as a result of COVID-19.
Employers should continue to ensure they are providing these leave entitlements and that they are requesting the appropriate documentation to certify the need for the leave. In addition to providing the name and age of the child, as well as a statement that no other suitable person is available to care for the child, an employee who requests leave based on the closure of a summer program should provide the name of the specific summer camp or program that would have been the place of care for the child had it not been closed. This requirement may be satisfied if the child had applied for, or been enrolled in, the program before closure, or if the child attended the camp or program in prior summers and was eligible to attend this summer, or other similar circumstances to show a planned enrollment this year.
Questions about the latest update to the FFCRA? Reach out to a Wiss team member for answers.