The arrival of summer has caused new questions to arise concerning The Families First Coronavirus Response Act and its application to current childcare situations.
As a review, The Families First Coronavirus Response Act included the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (“PSLA”) and the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (“FMLEA”), became effective on April 1, 2020, and applies to leave taken between April 1, 2020 and December 31, 2020. Employers with fewer than 500 employees were required to provide leave to employees under these Acts. Specifically, the PSLA and FMLEA provided for leave for an employee to care for a child whose school or place of care was closed or where a childcare provider was unavailable due to COVID-19 reasons.
Now that we have reached the end of the traditional school year, employees are facing new childcare challenges. Employees are now asking whether they may take PSLA or FMLEA leave to care for children because school is closed. According to recently-issued guidance by the Department of Labor, paid sick leave under the PSLA and emergency family and medical leave under the FMLEA “are not available for this qualifying reason if the school or childcare provider is closed for summer vacation, or any other reason that is not related to COVID-19”.
In many situations, however, childcare needs during the summer are filled by camps, both day and sleep-away, and other summer community activities. According to the same recently-issued guidance by the Department of Labor, an employee “may be able to take leave if his or her child’s care provider during the summer—a camp or other program in which the employee’s child is enrolled—is closed or unavailable for a COVID-19 related reason.”
If you have questions about this guidance or its impact on your business, please contact Jennifer Weaver or your Manning Fulton relationship attorney.