Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Coronavirus Update 4-7-2020 number 2: FFCRA loopholes (and another Zoominar)

Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) have sent a scathing letter to Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia calling out the DOL for contradictions they see between the text of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and the agency’s interpretive guidance.

Among the issues that they red-flagged:

  • The DOL requires certification before employees qualify for paid leave, even though the FFCRA does not require any such certification from employees. (I’ve also noted a clear discrepancy between the DOL’s regulations, which allow for oral certifications, and IRS guidance for the tax credit, which requires employers to maintain records of written requests made by employees.)
  • The DOL permits employers to deny paid leave if they have no work for employees to perform, for which the Senator and Congresswoman say statute does not support.
  • The DOL limits intermittent leave to when the employer and employee agree, which the Senator and Congresswoman also say the statute does not support.
  • The DOL has defined “health care provider” broadly to include in the statute’s exemption just about any employee who works for any employer who touches or feeds the health care industry, which the Senator and Congresswoman also say the statute does not support.
  • The DOL exempts from government “quarantine or isolation orders” shelter-in-place orders that do not cause an employee to be unable to work. The Senator and Congresswoman believe that state shelter-in-place orders should qualify employees for leave.

I’ll be discussing these and other open paid sick leave and eFMLA issues, and taking your coronavirus questions, on yet another Zoominar—Thursday, April 9, from 11:30 am – 12:30 pm. And if I ask nicely enough, Norah might even drop by to share another song.

To help discourage further technical intrusions, I will be admitting attendees through a waiting room, everyone’s cameras will be turned off by default, and the chat room will only send messages to me instead of to all attendees. Happy Zooming!

* Photo by Andre Hunter on Unsplash