The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) announced its first round of published guidance to provide information to employees and employers about how each will be able to take advantage of the protections and relief offered by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) when it takes effect on April 1, 2020.
FFCRA will help the U.S. combat and defeat COVID-19 by giving all American businesses with fewer than 500 employees funds to provide employees with paid leave, either for the employee’s own health needs or to care for family members. The legislation will ensure that workers are not forced to choose between their paychecks and the public health measures needed to combat the virus while at the same time reimbursing businesses, according to the WHD.
The guidance — provided in a Fact Sheet for Employees, a Fact Sheet for Employers, and a Questions and Answers document — addresses critical questions, such as how an employer must count the number of their employees to determine coverage; how small businesses can obtain an exemption; how to count hours for part-time employees; and how to calculate the wages employees are entitled to under this law.
“Providing information to the American workforce is a top priority for the Wage and Hour Division,” said Administrator Cheryl Stanton. “With so many workers and so many employers struggling to find their way in these trying conditions, providing guidance on a rolling basis will allow workers and businesses to prepare for the law to go into effect on April 1, 2020. We remain committed and are working around the clock to provide the information and tools for employees and employers alike.”
The guidance announced is just the first round of information and compliance assistance to come from WHD. A workplace poster required for most employers will be published later this week, along with additional fact sheets and more Q&A.
WHD provides additional information on common issues employers and employees face when responding to COVID-19, and its effects on wages and hours worked under the Fair Labor Standards Act and job-protected leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act here.