The United States Department of Labor (“DOL”) has issued its first round of guidance on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (the “Act”) that was passed last week. The guidance issued by the DOL includes a Fact Sheet for Employees, a Fact Sheet for Employers, and Questions and Answers. The guidance includes the following information:
• The Act is effective on April 1, 2020 and applies to leave taken between April 1 and December 31, 2020.
• The Act is not retroactive, so employees do not have a legal right to leave under the Act before April 1, 2020.
• Employers with fewer than 50 employees may apply for an exemption from having to comply with the extended FMLA portion of the Act if doing so would jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern. The DOL is to address the exemption process in forthcoming guidance and regulations.
• Covered employers qualify for dollar-for-dollar reimbursement through payroll tax credits for all qualifying wages paid for leave under the Act. The Treasury Department will be issuing more details on that topic.
• Covered employers must post in a conspicuous place on its premises a notice of the Act’s requirements, with the DOL set to issue a model notice shortly.
• The DOL will observe a 30-day temporary period of non-enforcement of the Act, as long as the employer acted reasonably and in good faith to comply with the Act. Good faith means (1) the employer remedies violations, (2) the employer makes the employee whole as soon as practicable, (3) the violations are not willful, and (4) the employer sends the DOL a written commitment to comply with the Act in the future.
Metz Lewis will continue to provide updates as additional guidance becomes available. If you have any employment-related questions, please contact our attorneys Manning “Jim” O’Connor, Rachel Felton, or Justin Barron.