Summer Update for Leave Eligibility Under FFCRA

Recently, the following was posed regarding the availability of Emergency Family Medical Leave Expansion Act during summer months:

Question

If an employee has a school aged child that is out of school for the summer, but does not have anyone to care for the child at home, is he/she still able to utilize the Emergency Family Medical Leave Expansion Act? Can we recommend that he/she find a daycare or babysitter, since it is not related to COVID-19.

Answer

The key is whether schools, camps, childcare, etc. are not available due to the coronavirus, not just because an employee does not have childcare regardless of the coronavirus.

Under the FFCRA, paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave include leave to care for one (or more) of your children when his or her school or place of care is closed or child care provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19 related reasons.

But Keep in mind the guidance below from the DOL's Q&As, especially "childcare provider".

Q What is a “place of care”?

A “place of care” is a physical location in which care is provided for your child. The physical location does not have to be solely dedicated to such care. Examples include day care facilities, preschools, before and after school care programs, schools, homes, summer camps, summer enrichment programs, and respite care programs.

Q Who is my “childcare provider”?

A “childcare provider” is someone who cares for your child. This includes individuals paid to provide childcare, like nannies, au pairs, and babysitters. It also includes individuals who provide childcare at no cost and without a license on a regular basis, for example, grandparents, aunts, uncles, or neighbors.

If you still have questions about the application of FFCRA extended employee benefits for the above or other employment situations, please contact Mark Potnick in the OCA office for assistance.