August 27, 2020

DOL Provides Clarification on FFCRA and “Closed” Schools

We know an employee is eligible for paid leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) if the employee is unable to work or telework because the employee’s child’s school is closed due to COVID-19. But what if a school offers remote or virtual learning, is it closed? What if it offers both in-person and remote learning and gives parents the choice, is it closed for FFCRA purposes?

If you attended the August 26th webcast, “FMLA Update 2.0,” you may have heard me say that I suspect we would see some guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor related to these questions.

Voila!  The next day, the DOL published three new FAQ’s.

  1. Click here and see Q#99, which clarifies that if a school is offering the choice of in-person or remote learning and a parent/employee chooses remote learning, the school is NOT closed for FFCRA purposes.
  2. However, see Q#98, if the school does not give a choice but offers in-person on some days and remote learning on other days, then the school IS closed for FFCRA purposes.
  3. Q#100 reiterates the information in Q#70 that if a school is offering only remote or distance learning, then the school is considered closed for FFCRA purposes.

Stay tuned! This is likely not the last iteration or interpretation.