The U.S. Department of Labor has clarified that the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) is to take effect on April 1, 2020.
Leave taken prior to April 1 does not count towards the leave required under the FFCRA.
The U.S. Department of Labor has made available a required workplace poster. Employers should post the required workplace poster in their offices as soon as possible and, to the extent they have workers working remotely, should also send them the poster via email and/or post it on an internal or external website.

As noted in Pillsbury’s March 18, 2020 Client Alert, the federal FFCRA will provide partial income replacement benefits to employees working for private employers with fewer than 500 employees, if, among other reasons, employees are unable to work due to isolation or quarantine orders or advisories. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has now published materials to aid employers in ensuring compliance with this new law, including fact sheets, questions and answers, and the required workplace poster. 

The Questions and Answers section clarifies that the FFCRA is effective April 1, 2020. The materials also clarify that any leave taken prior to April 1 does not count towards the leave required by the FFCRA.

The regular rate of pay to be used for such calculations is the average of the employee’s regular rate over a period of up to six months prior to the date on which leave is taken. For employees paid with commissions, tips, piece rates, such wages are to be included in the regular rate calculation. The regular rate can also be computed by totaling all compensation that is part of the regular rate over the six-month period and dividing that sum by all hours actually worked during that same period.

Employees may not take both 80 hours of paid sick leave for their own self-quarantine and then another 80 hours of paid sick leave for another qualifying reason. The DOL explains that employees are entitled to two weeks—or ten days—(80 hours for a full-time employee, or for a part-time employee, the number of hours equal to the average number of hours that the employee works over a typical two-week period) of paid sick leave for any combination of qualifying reasons. The total number of hours for paid sick leave is capped at 80 hours.

The required workplace poster notifying employees of their rights must be posted in a conspicuous place on the employer’s premises. For employers with employees who are telecommuting, the posting requirement may be met by emailing or direct mailing the poster to those employees, or posting it on an employee information internal or external website.

Pillsbury’s experienced crisis management professionals are closely monitoring the global threat of COVID-19, drawing on the firm's capabilities in supply chain management, insurance law, cybersecurity, employment law, corporate law and other areas to provide critical guidance to clients in an urgent and quickly evolving situation. For more thought leadership on this rapidly developing topic, please visit our COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Resource Center.