Schools Are Back In Session

For many working Americans, the start of school has left them in a panic about managing work and family needs.  Employers are required to offer leave under the Federal Families First Coronavirus Act (FFCRA). You may be one of many business owners who need guidance on how to administer FFCRA leave under the new guidelines. HR Wise llc has the professional HR experience to help you through this confusing time.

This blog is provided to you by Marwa Morsi (HR Wise llc, Senior Human Resources Manager) and is composed of some Frequently Asked Questions that the U.S. Department of Labor issued regarding the use of FFRCA leave as schools return to on-campus learning very soon.

Please contact our Senior Human Resources Manager, Marwa Morsi for further guidance

Can an employee take FFCRA leave on a child’s remote learning days in a hybrid learning method?

  • Yes.  Some schools are using a “hybrid” or “alternate day” attendance method.  Generally, this is when a school is open every day, but students are only on-site some days and remote learning on other days.  According to the DOL, 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.  The DOL clarifies that this leave can be taken as long as the employee is actually caring for the child during that time and only if no other suitable person is available to do so.

Is FFCRA leave available to take care of a child whose school is open for in-person attendance, but the employee chose a remote learning option for the child?

  • No. Some schools provided parents with a choice between having their child attend school in-person or participate in a remote learning program.  If a remote learning program was chosen, FFCRA leave is not available because the school is not “closed” due to COVID-19 reasons.  Rather, the child is home because the employee chose to have the child remain home. However, the DOL provides the caveat that if, because of COVID-19, an employee’s child is under a quarantine order or has been advised by a health care provider to self-isolate or self-quarantine, the employee may be eligible to take paid leave to care for the child.

If the school year is beginning solely under a remote learning program due to COVID-19 concerns, can employees take FFCRA leave?

  • Yes. An employee may take paid FFCRA leave while the child’s school remains closed and only remote learning is available, because the school is closed in this scenario.  However, if the school reopens, whether FFCRA leave is available will depend on the type of reopening, as discussed above.

My employee’s child’s school or place of care has moved to online instruction or to another model in which children are expected or required to complete assignments at home. Is it “closed”?

  • Yes. If the physical location where the employee’s child received instruction or care is now closed, the school or place of care is “closed” for purposes of paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave. This is true even if some or all instruction is being provided online or whether, through another format such as “distance learning,” the child is still expected or required to complete assignments.

We hope that you have found this information to be helpful.

The full Department of Labor FFCRA Frequent Asked Questions can be found HERE.

This blog was made for informational purposes only.  It is not intended to be legal advice.  For legal advice, please consult your attorney

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *