The United States Department of Labor (DOL) issued guidance on Friday, June 26 that permits employees to take paid leave under the Family First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) when they are unable to work because they are caring for a child whose summer camp or program was cancelled due to COVID-19.
The DOL said a closed summer camp or program could be considered the place of care for an employee’s child if the child was enrolled in the camp or program before the closure. The department said that “affirmative steps” short of actual enrollment could serve as proof that the summer program was intended to be the child’s place of care.
Under the FFCRA, employees who work for companies of less than 500 employees are entitled to take up to 12 weeks of paid leave (at a reduced rate) when they are unable to work or telework due to the need to care for a child whose place of care is closed due to COVID-19 restrictions.
While the law was initially intended to reach those workers who could not work or telework due to COVID-related school or child-care closures, the DOL has made clear that the same reasoning applies as the pandemic stretches into the summer.
“The expectation that employees take FFCRA leave based on planned summer enrollments is not different from the closing of other places of care, such as a daycare center,” the DOL said in its Field Assistance Bulletin.
The DOL added that it’s not adopting a one-size-fits all rule because of “the multitude of possible circumstances under which an employee may establish (1) a plan to send his or her child to a summer camp or program, or (2) that even though the employee had no such plan at the time the summer camp or program closed due to COVID-19, his or her child would have nevertheless attended the camp or program had it not closed.”
About the Author
Brett Christie is the managing editor of Workspan Daily.