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U.S. Department Of Labor Issues New Guidance On FFCRA And School Leave
On August 27, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor published three new frequently asked questions – questions 98 through 100 -addressing the impact of schools reopening, distance learning, and hybrid learning schedules on leaves under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).
Question 98 clarifies that when a child’s school is operating on a hybrid learning schedule (i.e., alternating days between in person and distance learning), an employee is eligible to take paid leave under the FFCRA on days when the employee’s child is not permitted to attend school in person and must instead engage in remote learning. However, the employee is only eligible if the employee needs the leave to actually care for his/her child during that time and no other suitable person is available.
Question 99 clarifies that when a child’s school gives the employee a choice between having his/her child participate in remote learning only or in-person learning only and the employee chooses the remote learning only option, the employee is not eligible to take paid leave under the FFCRA. The DOL opined that the child’s school is not “closed” due to COVID–19 related reasons, but is instead open for the child to attend and the employee has chosen to keep the child at home.
Question 100 clarifies that when a child’s school is operating under a remote learning only program out of concern for COVID-19, the employee is eligible to take paid leave under the FFCRA while the child’s school remains closed.