As we previously discussed here, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”) requires employers with fewer than 500 employees to provide up to 12 weeks of paid leave to eligible employees whose school or place of childcare is unavailable due to the COVID-19 pandemic. New guidance from the Department of Labor (which can be found here) specifically addresses FFCRA use over the summer.
An employee requesting FFCRA leave must provide sufficient information (orally or in writing) to explain the reason for the leave and that the employee cannot work as a result. For childcare leave, the employee must also provide the name of the child, the name of the school or place of care, and a statement that no other suitable person is available to care for the child.
If the leave is due to a summer camp closure, employers may ask for the name of the specific camp or program in which the child was enrolled. However, even if the child was never enrolled, the employee may be eligible for leave. If the child was eligible to attend or attended in past summers, or the employee planned to send the child to the closed camp or program, the employee is eligible for the leave. The DOL emphasizes that there is no “one-size-fits-all rule” and neither current enrollment nor prior attendance are necessary to establish FFCRA eligibility. Employers should simply require the employee to provide the name of the camp and the dates of attendance, and certify that but-for-COVID, the child would have attended camp.
Oregon employers should also keep in mind that unpaid leave to care for a child may also be available to employees under the Oregon Family Leave Act. (See our previous post, here.)