The Department of Labor (DOL) has released its first round of guidance and required posters for new paid leave mandates enacted by Congress in response to the coronavirus crisis. These mandates, which cover the vast majority of small businesses, will take effect on April 1st. All businesses covered by the law, including private sector employers with fewer than 500 employees, are required to post this notice.
The DOL guidance includes:
DOL’s guidance deals with the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. Enacted on March 18, the law amends the Family and Medical Leave Act to require up to 12 weeks of leave to employees affected by the pandemic. It also requires that affected employees be given up to two weeks (80 hours) of paid sick leave. These mandates apply to all businesses with fewer than 500 employees.
The cost of all paid sick, family, and medical leave incurred under the new law will be reimbursed to companies via payroll tax credits. Small businesses with fewer than 50 employees may qualify for exemption from the requirement to provide leave due to school closings or childcare unavailability if the leave requirements would jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern.
“We welcome further clarity on how small businesses can deal with these burdensome mandates,” said Kevin Kuhlman, NFIB senior director of legislative affairs. “NFIB has been urging the Department of Labor to keep our members in mind, and we are glad the administration is listening to our very real concerns. Small business owners still need more answers to their questions.”
The guidance contains important information for employers. The topics addressed include part-time employees, wage calculations, employee headcount, claiming the tax credit, and other pressing items.
It also begins to describe the process for small businesses to apply for an exemption, but footnotes that regulations will be issued in April.
Additional guidance and FAQs will be forthcoming from the Department of Labor. NFIB will provide updates and details as they are released.
Kevin Kuhlman continued: “NFIB will keep urging the administration to take concrete steps to provide our members with clarity, flexibility, and support. Few things are more important now than helping small businesses and their employees through this crisis.”
NFIB is here to help. NFIB has published a fact sheet on the Paid Leave Law and a Coronavirus FAQ. Both documents are being updated as we receive more information from the Administration.
If you have questions or concerns regarding the implementation of these leave mandates before April 1st, please contact the NFIB Small Business Legal Center at [email protected] DOL will also be hosting an online dialogue to foster compliance through Sunday, March 29. Small business owners may register for the online dialogue here.