One of the goals of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act is to help assist families who are having to alter their normal ways of living due to canceled plans. One of the big areas to cover is paid leave, and what situations can qualify for effective paid time off.
- Summer Camps Cancelling their Plans
If the parents were planning to send their child to summer camp, and that camp canceled due to COVID-19 complications, how can the parent take care of their child? The U.S. Department of Labor said Friday that workers could indeed take Federal Coronavirus Leave, up to ten weeks off at partial pay. Wage and Hour Division Head, Cheryl Stanton, mentioned this in a letter discussing possible employer violations. A complicated matter on both sides, there will most likely be parties trying to take advantage during this time, and clarity will be a powerful factor in determining if the worker does qualify. In this article, we discuss the details that go into qualifying for paid leave.
- Setting a Clear Stage of Planning
One of the biggest ways to get this right is by showing true proof that, if the current situation had been normal, your child would be enrolled and attending a summer camp. With the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, the first Federal Mandate was established, stating that employers with fewer than 500 employees must give workers short-term paid sick time for reasons associated with COVID-19, as well as long-term paid leave in order to care for children whose schools or childcare facilities are closed. The ruling took place on April 1st and will expire at the end of the year.
- Getting the Exact Numbers Right
According to the FFCRA, if an employer has 500 or fewer workers, they must provide them with up to two weeks of sick leave at full pay, up to $511-per-day cap, if they are directly affected by COVID-19, and at partial pay, up to $200 a day, to care for affected family members. According to the law, there are six qualifying reasons for leave. The employee may qualify for sick leave if the employee is
- Subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19
- Has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine related to COVID-19
- Is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and is seeking a medical diagnosis
- Is caring for an individual subject to an order described in (a) or self-quarantine as described in (b)
- Is caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed (or childcare provider is unavailable) for reasons related to COVID-19
- Is experiencing any other similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the Secretaries of Labor and Treasury.
As the level of cases fluctuates, these rules are having to be executed to give direction to a nuanced situation. The importance is being placed upon clarifications, and many individuals are still not certain about what rights to utilize to take time away from their job and care for loved ones.
- Adding Clarity to the Situation
One of the important clarifications made was that the FFCRA’s 10-day emergency paid leave can be taken on top of any existing paid leave that an employer already provides. An area where they have expanded the law is the age of the child that is being cared for by the parent. Although the statute says that workers are eligible if they have to be home to care for a child who is under 18, the Department of Labor clarified and stated that the law will also cover children who are over 18 but have a physical or mental disability that requires a kind of care that is made unavailable because of the recent COVID-19 related shutdowns.
These alterations are in accordance with being able to successfully carry out the law. The law does state that the individual whom the worker is taking care of must be a family member, someone living in the same household, or someone with a quality of personal relationship where there would be an expectation of care from the employee.
As you can see by the detailed, specific language utilized, the propensity for someone to game the system could be high, and that is why having all of the facts aligned in your favor will be so very important. Establishing the concrete details that solidify the individual as having a personal relationship and needing your care will be vital to receiving your payment.
- Does the child have to be fully enrolled in the camp?
Not necessarily. Although it is encouraged to not rely on any grey areas, it is potentially acceptable if your child is on the waiting list to get into a camp. However, it is very important to note that simply having the desire to send them to camp will not suffice. There needs to be a plan, and evidence that the plan was to be carried out until mitigating circumstances prohibited the camp from occurring.
Another option the law allows for is up to 10 weeks off at partial pay, up to $200 per day, to care for children whose schools or childcare centers have closed due to COVID-19. For the employers that are covered under the law, they are encouraged to seek reimbursement of the qualifying leave through tax credits.
- What about companies with 50 or fewer employees?
For those companies that have 50 or fewer employees, they may be exempt in terms of having to provide leave. This is stipulated upon how essential the worker being present is in terms of upholding vital business operations.
As you can see, and as there usually is with new, unprecedented legislation, there are many angles and grey areas to consider. The catch 22 of having businesses struggle alongside their coworkers could potentially place them at odds with one another, and this is something that we want you to be aware of and ready for.
Having your information in alignment and accordance with the latest laws will be to your benefit. As always, The Orlando Law Group is here to help you through your specific situation. Although similarities exist, your world is your own and will require a specific interpretation of how the law applies. Our attorneys treat you as an individual, and we will not stop fighting for your rights to the time and money you deserve.