Thanks to those who attended my webinar on Monday with my Littler colleagues Alexis Knapp and Jim Paretti on “Practical Issues for Employers in Navigating the New Federal Emergency Paid FMLA and Sick Leave Mandates.” A link to access the recording and PowerPoint slides can be found here.
To the nearly 14,000 people who registered for the webinar, thank you. To those who missed it, you still have time to access the recording.
In particular, we covered key issues you need to be aware of as you begin to administer paid sick leave (EPSL) and paid FMLA (FMLA+). During the webinar, we addressed a host of issues, including the following:
- When is this law effective? Ok, I acknowledge that this is the only issue we got wrong during the webinar. Leading up to webinar, everyone and their brother were banking on the law taking effect on April 2, 2020, which was 15 days after the president signed the bill. As it turns out, DOL decided to make the law effective on April 1, 2020, as noted in the DOL guidance issued yesterday. So we were off by one day, not bad.
- How do employers calculate numbers of employees to determine whether they are covered by EPSL and FMLA+? As we know from the law itself, the EPSL and FMLA+ apply to a private-sector employer with 499 or fewer employees. During the webinar, we outlined how you should calculate, what employees you should include in the calculation, and how you address multiple, related entities under your corporate umbrella. It is worth noting that we received guidance yesterday from the Department of Labor on these issues, which I analyzed yesterday.
- Does a shelter in place or business closure order serve as a basis for an employee to take paid sick leave? We explained our concerns about whether the new statute actually provides for leave in these situations. In fact, it’s pretty clear that the law doesn’t provide leave for individuals impacted by these orders. At the same time, we outlined how the DOL still may find a way to cover individuals in these situations, given that the “spirit” of the law may very cover these individuals.
- May a terminated employee or furloughed employee receive paid leave under this new law? No, and likely no. Listen to the webinar for our reasoning why!
- May an employee take EPSL and FMLA+ intermittently? Given the silence of the new law regarding intermittent leave, as well as the removal of language in earlier versions that required leave to be used at once, it appears as though the new law provides for intermittent and reduced schedule leave.
- How do EPSL and FMLA+ interact with state/local leave laws? In short, this new federal paid leave is in addition to state/local leave law. We explain our rationale in the webinar.
We covered these critical issues and more. Please access our recording here.
Other Resources for Employers during this Pandemic
At Littler, we have assembled over 100 attorneys who have spent every waking hour over the past several weeks advising employers on how they address very difficult workplace issues as a result of the coronavirus. We encourage you to lean on us for assistance to do well by your employees and weather this storm.
Here are a few Littler resources I recommend you keep close by in the weeks and months ahead:
- Our Littler Coronavirus resource page, which contains employer FAQs on dealing with the pandemic, employer action items, specific guidance for dealing with the pandemic around the world (in the event you have international operations) and links to all our webinars and employer tools regarding the pandemic.
- Our compilation of all the orders requiring shelter at home and business closures
- How to properly handle furloughs as a response to the pandemic
- Wage and Hour Implications of Employer Responses to the Coronavirus
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) Employer FAQs
- Recording of my March 24, 2020 webinar on best practice for implementing the new federal paid sick leave and paid FMLA law