A New York federal court ruled this week that major portions of the Department of Labor’s regulations governing the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) exceeded the Department’s authority. The FFCRA was passed by Congress in March of this year to aid American workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Under the FFCRA, employers are required to offer sick leave and emergency family leave to employees who are unable to work due to a qualifying reason related to COVID-19.
This court decision has struck down the DOL’s work availability requirement that there must be work available for an employee to perform in order to qualify for leave; narrowed the broad definition of health care providers so that they do not fall under the paid leave or paid sick leave exceptions; struck down the intermittent leave requirements that employees seek consent from employers before taking leave; and struck down the requirements that employees produce certain documentation before taking leave. Although the decision has thus invalidated several provisions of the FFCRA regulations, none of these changes are expected to immediately go into effect because the case will most likely be stayed while it proceeds through the appeals process.
As such, employers may wish to refrain from making any immediate changes to align with this decision. There is a high chance that the decision will be appealed, which will result in months or years of delay caused by the further litigation. For now, employers should continue to operate under the current regulations until more information is known. As always, K|W|W will keep you informed on how any potential changes to the FFCRA regulations may impact your business. Your workplace is our priority.
The K|W|W Team