For the second time in three weeks, the United States Department of Labor (DOL) made an update to the Family First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).
On Friday, the DOL updated the definition of health-care provider within its regulations that implemented the paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave provisions within FFCRA. The update was made in response to the U.S. District Court ruling in August that struck down aspects of the rule.
Among the changes is a revision of DOL's definition of which health-care providers an employer may exempt from taking FFCRA leave. The revised definition “expressly states that an employee is a health-care provider if he or she is ‘capable of providing health care services.’” The DOL noted that such providers must be “employed to provide diagnostic services, preventive services, treatment services, or other services that are integrated with and necessary to the provision of patient care.”
The rule also addressed other provisions struck down by the court, including a clarification that employees aren’t required to provide the documentation required for taking FFCRA leave before taking the leave. However, the DOL said employees must provide the required documentation supporting their need for FFCRA leave to their employers “as soon as practicable.”
The revisions, which take effect Wednesday, Sept. 16, are geared mainly toward health-care employers that had previously exempted some or all of their employees from FFCRA leave. The revised definition of “health-care provider” provides more clarity for whom an employer can exclude from taking emergency paid leave under the FFCRA.
The FFCRA went into effect April 1 and consisted of two different laws: the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act and the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act. The revisions apply to The Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act, which:
- Adds a basis for 12-week FMLA leave related to childcare from school closures during the COVID-19 crisis.
- Results in limited paid leave for 10 weeks.
- Provides tax credits.
- Expires on Dec. 31, 2020.
- Applies to certain public agencies and private employers with fewer than 500 employees.
The original language of The Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act provided an exception for employers that were health-care providers or emergency responders to exclude employees from taking leave under the act.
About the Author
Brett Christie is the managing editor of Workspan Daily.