Department of Labor Issues Correction to Temporary Rule Figure

April 17, 2020  |  COVID-19; Employment & Employee Benefits; Insights

Department of Labor Issues Correction to Temporary Rule

By: Frank N. Gaeta

On April 10, the U.S. Department of Labor issued a ?Correction and Correcting Amendment? to its Temporary Rule implementing the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (the ?Act?).  The key ?correction? was to delete the language in the preamble to the Temporary Rule, and to delete a section of the regulations, that created an ambiguity over whether a covered employer can require an employee to take preexisting paid time off concurrently with expanded (paid) family and medical leave under the Act.  The DOL has clarified that an employer may do so.  (Remember that covered employers cannot require employees to use preexisting PTO concurrently with paid sick leave under the Act.)  The DOL?s Correction and Correcting Amendment may be found here.

The DOL has also issued the following new FAQs on this subject:

31.       As an employee, may I use my employer?s preexisting leave entitlements and my FFCRA paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave concurrently for the same hours?

During the first two weeks of unpaid expanded family and medical leave, you may not simultaneously take paid sick leave under the EPSLA and preexisting paid leave, unless your employer agrees to allow you to supplement the amount you receive from paid sick leave with your preexisting paid leave, up to your normal earnings. After the first two workweeks (usually 10 workdays) of expanded family and medical leave under the EFMLEA, however, you may elect?or be required by your employer?to take your remaining expanded family and medical leave at the same time as any existing paid leave that, under your employer?s policies, would be available to you in that circumstance. This would likely include personal leave or paid time off, but not medical or sick leave if you are not ill.

If you are required to take your existing leave concurrently with your remaining expanded family and medical leave, your employer must pay you the full amount to which you are entitled under your existing paid leave policy for the period of leave taken. If you exhaust your preexisting paid leave and still are entitled to additional expanded family and medical leave, your employer must pay you at least 2/3 of your pay for subsequent periods of expanded family and medical leave taken, up to $200 per workday and $10,000 in the aggregate, for expanded family and medical leave.

32.       If I am an employer, may I use the paid sick leave mandated under the EPSLA to satisfy paid leave entitlements that an employee may have under my paid leave policy?

No, unless your employee agrees. Paid sick leave under the EPSLA is in addition to your employee?s (including Federal Employees?) other leave entitlements. You may not require your employee to use provided or accrued paid vacation, personal, medical, or sick leave before the paid sick leave. You also may not require your employee to use such existing leave concurrently with the paid sick leave under the EPSLA. But if you and your employee agree, your employee may use preexisting leave entitlements to supplement the amount he or she receives from paid sick leave, up to the employee?s normal earnings. Note, however, that you are not entitled to a tax credit for any paid sick leave that is not required to be paid or exceeds the limits set forth under the EPSLA. You are free to amend your own policies to the extent consistent with applicable law.

33.       If I am an employer, may I require my employee to take paid leave he or she may have under my existing paid leave policy concurrently with expanded family and medical leave under the EFMLEA?

Yes. After the first two workweeks (usually 10 workdays) of expanded family and medical leave under the EFMLEA, you may require that your employee take concurrently for the same hours expanded family and medical leave and existing leave that, under your policies, would be available to the employee in that circumstance. This would likely include personal leave or paid time off, but not medical or sick leave if your employee (or a covered family member) is not ill.

If you do so, you must pay your employee the full amount to which he or she is entitled under your existing paid leave policy for the period of leave taken. You must pay your employee at least 2/3 of his or her pay for subsequent periods of expanded family and medical leave taken, up to $200 per workday and $10,000 in the aggregate, for expanded family and medical leave. If your employee exhausts all preexisting paid vacation, personal, medical, or sick leave, you would need to pay your employee at least 2/3 of his or her pay for subsequent periods of expanded family and medical leave taken, up to $200 per day and $10,000 in the aggregate. You are free to amend your own policies to the extent consistent with applicable law.

Disclaimer: This summary is provided for educational and informational purposes only and is not legal advice. Any specific questions about these topics should be directed to attorney Frank Gaeta.