DOL Clarifies COVID-19 Paid Leave Rules Regarding Schools Reopening

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) published FAQs on August 27, related to the reopening of schools and paid leave requirements created under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The “Return to School” FAQs for workers and employers explain eligibility for paid leave relative to the varied formats and schedules schools have announced as they plan to reopen, including blending in-person with distance learning.

FFCRA entitles certain employees to take up to two weeks of paid sick leave and take up to 12 weeks of expanded family and medical leave, 10 of which are paid for specified reasons related to the coronavirus. An eligible employee may take both types of paid leave “because of a need to care for the employee’s son or daughter whose school or place of care is closed, or whose child care provider is unavailable, due to the coronavirus related reasons.”

The FAQs address topics about qualifying for paid leave when a child attends a school operating on an alternate day basis; a parent chooses remote learning when in-person instruction is available; and a school begins the year with remote learning but may shift to in-person instruction if conditions change.

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