DOL Issues Return-to-Work Guidance Under FFCRA

On July 20, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued guidance on return-to-work issues under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). Enacted on March 18, 2020, the FFCRA provides emergency paid sick leave, fully paid for by the federal government by way of refundable tax credits and paid family leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) for certain qualifying employees affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The following three areas were updated in this recently issued additional guidance:

  • Paid Leave Clarifications: DOL clarifies that the period an employee was furloughed cannot count against their FFCRA or FMLA leave entitlement.
  • Return-to-Work Positions: Provides direction to employers who have staff returning to work after caring for a family member exposed to COVID-19.
  • No Retaliation: Makes it clear that employers may not discriminate against an employee for the use of FFCRA or influence any employment decisions based on the possible future use of FFCRA leave when returning staff to the workplace.

The DOL previously issued guidance in late June which clarified worker’s rights to FFCRA leave for school, camp or other child care closures affecting them during the summer months. The FFCRA’s leave provisions are currently scheduled to expire on Dec. 31, 2020.