Employers to Roll Out the FFCRA on April 1

Miller & Martin PLLC Alerts | March 31, 2020

Author: Stacie Caraway

For those of you hoping this was all just a very elaborate April Fool’s Day prank – unfortunately, it is not – tomorrow is the day the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”) goes into effect.

Before hitting the panic button, the first step for employers (with fewer than 500 employees) can simply be to put up (and distribute via email or regular mail for those working remotely) this Department of Labor ("the DOL") FFCRA poster (click to open), which describes the general provisions of the new law.

We also are recommending that as part of distributing the DOL poster, you let employees know to direct all leave requests and questions to Human Resources rather than to individual supervisors, so that you can address such requests and questions uniformly as new information continues to come out regarding this new law.

Also note that unlike the “regular” FMLA, there are no FFCRA forms (although employers are certainly free to develop your own “FFCRA Leave Request forms”). There also are no specific FFCRA timelines which require employers to “immediately respond” to leave requests, etc. So, as you receive requests for the two new types of leave provided under the FFCRA, simply acknowledge the request, and let the employee know you will get back to them as soon as you can.

We are still expecting more information and answers regarding this new law this week when the DOL issues the anticipated regulations on the FFCRA. We will provide you with a summary of those as soon as we can once they are issued.

In the meantime, the DOL has issued a “Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Questions and Answers” document (click to open) on its website – www.dol.gov – that is being updated periodically for those of you who want to take a “deep dive” prior to seeing the final regulations. We have also prepared a summary of this lengthy FAQ document on our blog (click here to open).

Lastly, the DOL realizes that all employers have been drinking through a firehose when it comes to trying to get up to speed on this brand-new law. Even the DOL has said that it will not be pursuing any enforcement actions until at least after April 17. So, you do not necessarily have to have everything “perfect” by tomorrow. Just put up and distribute the poster, take a deep breath, and take it one day at a time, as we have all been doing since life went upside down for most of us in mid-March.

It is an honor to navigate these challenging times with so many of you who are trying to walk that fine line between helping your companies while valuing your employees. Please let us know how we can continue to be of assistance to you by contacting any member of our Labor & Employment Law Practice Group. We’re all in this together! Stay well!

And remember, this too shall pass...

For more information about the ongoing developments related to the COVID-19 pandemic, please visit Miller & Martin's Coronavirus Resources.