Q: I understand the DOL and IRS are continuing to expand their guidance, are there any recent updates provided by them that I need to understand when approving requests for Paid Leave under the Families First Coronavirus Act (FFCRA)?

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A. The DOL expanded the reasons for Emergency Paid Sick Leave, “EPSL” to include caring for individuals who are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19. Additionally, they addressed eligibility for paid leave if an employee decides to self-quarantine without receiving a related diagnosis. The clarification and amendments are as follows:

  • An employee is eligible for EPSL if a health care provider states she/he is vulnerable to the virus and is quarantining based upon that advice and preventing them from working or teleworking. This is found in the DOL’s FAQ, # 61.
  • An employee who is caring for an individual who is vulnerable to COVID-19 is entitled to EPSL if they were advised by a health care provider to quarantine, and the provision of care to that individual prevents them from working or teleworking.  This is addressed in the DOL’s FAQ #65.  
  • An individual includes an immediate family member or someone who regularly resides in the employee’s home. It may also include someone with whom the employee has a relationship that creates an expectation they would care for the person in a quarantine or self-quarantine situation. DOL’s FAQ# 63.
  • An employee who self-quarantines without seeking a medical diagnosis is generally not eligible for the qualified sick leave per DOL’s FAQ 62.

DOL FAQs for FFCRA can be found at: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-questions
The IRS has expanded on documentation requirements for Expanded Family Medical Leave and Expanded/Emergency Paid Sick leave for a dependent child’s school closing as follows:

  • An employer must maintain documentation from the employee for the EPSL and EFMLA leave to receive payroll credits from the IRS. 
  • Requests to care for a child older than the age of 14 must include a statement of the special circumstances that exist prohibiting the employee to work or telework during daylight hours in order to provide care for the child. This is found under IRS FAQ 44.

We have updated both leave requests forms to include this expanded collection of information from employees. Please feel free to use these forms for your employees to make requests for leave(s). 

If you have any questions or would like additional information, please contact your Liberty Advisor.

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