On March 25, the U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL's) Wage and Hour Division published workplace posters that small and midsize employers can use to fulfill their obligations to notify employees of their rights to expanded paid sick leave and expanded paid Family and Medical Leave Act leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).
The FFCRA was signed into law on March 18, and its provisions will apply from April 1 through Dec. 31, 2020. The statute gives businesses in the U.S. with fewer than 500 full-time or part-time employees funds to provide employees with paid leave, either for the employee's own health needs or to care for family members. Employees must provide two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick leave at 100 percent of a full-time employee's pay. A part-time employee is entitled to leave for his or her average number of work hours in a two-week period.
Eligible businesses can retain funds that they would otherwise pay to the IRS in payroll taxes, or file for a refund if what they're paying for COVID-19-required leave exceeds their payroll tax liability.
The two new posters are:
"Employers should note that the DOL announced in guidance issued on March 24, 2020 that the FFCRA is effective April 1, 2020. Note this is a change from the previously expected effective date of April 2, 2020," explained Miriam L. Rosen, attorney with McDonald Hopkins in Detroit. "Employer should ensure that the FFCRA notice is posted in a conspicuous place on its premises by April 1."
"Providing information to the American workforce is a top priority for the Wage and Hour Division," said Administrator Cheryl Stanton. "We remain committed and are working around the clock to provide the information and tools for employees and employers alike."
[SHRM members-only HR Q&A: Which federal employment posters must be seen by applicants, and how should an employer comply with this requirement?]
Notifying At-Home Employees
The DOL also issued frequently asked questions (FAQs) and answers regarding FFCRA employee notices. The FAQs address the fact that many employees are working from home if they are able to, while others may be at home under quarantine or furloughed.
Each covered employer must post an FFCRA notice "in a conspicuous place on its premises," the DOL said.
"In light of the fact that many employees are now working remotely, employers should consider adding the posting to intranet sites and using other means that may be visible to remote workers," to satisfy this requirement, Rosen noted. "The DOL suggests options such as e-mailing or direct mailing the notice to employees who are working remotely," or posting the notice on an employee information internal or external website.
Covered employers must post this notice regardless of whether their state requires greater protections, as employers must comply with both federal and state law, the DOL said.
Further, employers must share these notices with current employees, including new hires, but need not do so with those who have been recently laid off. Employers also have no obligation to provide the notice to prospective employees.
The DOL urged employers to check the Wage and Hour Division's website or sign up for Key News Alerts to ensure that they remain current with all notice requirements, including updated versions of the FFCRA posters.
DOL Seeks Employer Feedback
Employers can share their thoughts with the Department of Labor regarding future guidance on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. Comments can be submitted online at https://ffcra.ideascale.com through April 10, 2020—an extended deadline.
The DOL will use this feedback to develop compliance-assistance guidance, resources and tools, and outreach approaches that assist employers and employees in understanding their responsibilities and rights under the FFCRA.
Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Questions and Answers, U.S. Department of Labor, March 2020
COVID-19 Legislation Brings New Workplace Posting, J.J. Keller Employment Law Poster Update Service, April 2020
Related SHRM Articles:
IRS and DOL Unveil Employer Tax Credits for Coronavirus-Related Leaves, SHRM Online, March 2020
Confused About the Coronavirus Paid-Leave Mandate? DOL Issued Some Guidance, SHRM Online, March 2020
Many Employers Must Offer Paid Leave Under Coronavirus Relief Law, SHRM Online, March 2020
Health, Wellness and Leave Benefits Help Employees with Coronavirus, SHRM Online, March 2020