Family First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”) Rules on Parental Leave Due to Summer Camp Closures

Parents now may be entitled to leave due to summer camp or summer enrichment program closures. The United States Department of Labor’s Wage Hour Division announced new guidance today for families who need to take leave under the Family First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”) due to summer camp closures during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Read the full guidance here for more information.

Under the FFCRA leave, eligible parents may take up to two weeks of paid sick leave and up to twelve weeks of expanded family and medical leave (10 weeks of this may be paid).  This depends upon whether the employer is covered by the FFCRA leave.  Parents may qualify for this leave if they are unable to work or tele-work because their child’s school or childcare provider is closed.  The FFCRA also applies to summer camps and summer enrichment camps, but employees must provide the employer with some detailed information as to why this care is not available to them.

In general, employees who request FFCRA leave must tell their employer they need the leave.  They need to give a statement as to why they need the leave, and why they are unable to work.  Additionally, the employee must give the name of their child, the name of the school or “place of care”, and a statement that there is no other suitable person available to care for the child.  See 29 C.F.R. Section 826.100(e).

For summer camps or enrichment programs, the Department of Labor has also advised that employees must provide the name of a specific summer camp or program.  The employee may be required to show that the child was enrolled in a program prior to closures, or attended it in prior summers and was eligible to attend again this year.  This may be a challenge for employees with children who have just recently become eligible to attend a camp due to age, or families who recently moved.  However, the employee must provide some evidence that the summer program was their intended childcare for this period of time.  If a child was not enrolled prior to closure, had never attended the summer program, or there is no other evidence of the parent making arrangements to send the child there, the parent may not be eligible for leave.

These issues are important for families and employers to get right.  There are significant penalties if these matters are not handled properly. Buchanan Law Firm represents employees and counsels employers about their rights and responsibilities under the FFCRA as a result of COVID-19.  Call to schedule a consultation at (505) 900-3559.