Thank you to everyone who attended our webinar on Taming the COVID-19 Chaos, Part 6—Bringing Employees Back to Work. If you missed it, be on the lookout for details on future webinars to help employers navigate these challenging times.
We received some questions about whether employees can continue to use FFCRA leave after the end of the school year. The short answer is yes. FFCRA provides employees with up to 12 weeks of emergency paid sick leave and paid family leave if an employee is unable to work because the employee’s child’s school or place of care is closed, or the employee’s childcare provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19-related reasons. The FFCRA regulations define “place of care” broadly to mean any physical location where care is provided for the employee’s child while the employee works for the employer. The physical location does not have to be solely dedicated to such care. The regulations specifically define place of care to include summer camps and summer enrichment programs, as well as before and after school care programs. This means that an employee may be entitled to FFCRA leave after the end of the school year, assuming that the employee meets the FFCRA eligibility requirements (which we blogged about here), still has FFCRA leave available, and is unable to work or telework because the employee’s child’s normal place of care (including a summer camp) is closed for COVID-19-related reasons.
The IRS has issued guidance on what documentation employees need to submit to support an FFCRA leave request based on a school or place of care closure. The employee should submit a statement that includes the name and age of the child (or children) to be cared for, the name of the school that has closed or place of care that is unavailable due to COVID-19 reasons, and a representation that no other person will be providing care for the child during the period for which the employee is requesting leave. When the employee requests leave to provide care for a child older than 14 (i.e., age 15 to 17) during daylight hours, the statement should also indicate that special circumstances exist that require the employee to provide care.