DOL Clarifies Exemptions to Coronavirus Paid Leave Laws

By Bolton March 31st, 2020

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has issued frequently asked questions (FAQs) that address exemptions to the paid leave requirements under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The FFCRA requires covered employers to provide their employees with paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19.

The FFCRA includes an exemption for small businesses and an exemption for certain types of employees.

  • Small businesses with fewer than 50 employees may qualify for an exemption from the requirement to provide leave due to school closings or child care unavailability if the leave requirements would jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern.
  • Employers of health care providers or emergency responders are not required to provide these types of employees with paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave under the FFCRA.

The DOL’s FAQs on these exemptions address:

  • When the small business exemption applies.
  • Who constitutes a “health care provider” or “emergency responder” who may be excluded from paid sick leave and/or expanded family and medical leave.

This Compliance Bulletin includes the DOL’s FAQs on the FFCRA’s exemptions.


Action Steps

Employers should review the DOL’s guidance to determine whether they qualify for an exemption to the FFCRA’s paid leave requirements. Employers should also continue to monitor the DOL’s COVID-19 website for compliance updates.