You may already have employees who’ve taken emergency FMLA (EFMLA) or emergency paid sick leave (EPSL) related to COVID-19 under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”). Maybe you haven’t. Either way, you should have a plan for FFCRA leave requests that accounts for the following:
- Accept verbal notices and requests for leave and follow up with employees to obtain written notice to support the leave request. Do not deny EFMLA or EPSL because the employee has provided only an oral notification of leave. Accept the verbal request and circle back with the employee to obtain a completed copy of your applicable leave form.
- If an employee does not provide information to support his or her leave, you can then consider appropriate action. But this should be after you give the employee ample opportunity, and follow up requests, to provide the information.
- The DOL regulations explain what information employers can obtain. For all requests, employees must provide: name, dates of leave, qualifying reason, and an oral or written statement that the employee is unable to work because of the qualified reason for leave. The other information employees must provide varies based on the underlying reason:
Employee is subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order related
to COVID-19. Provide the employer with the name of the government entity that issued
the Quarantine or Isolation Order.
Employee has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine because of
COVID-19. Provide the employer with the name of the health care provider who advised the Employee to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19.
Employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and is seeking a medical diagnosis. The DOL regulations don’t specific what information an employee should provide in this situation, however, it is reasonable to ask for the name of the health care provider.
Employee is caring for an individual subject or advised to quarantine or isolation. Provide the employer with either: (1) the name of the government entity that issued the Quarantine or Isolation Order to which the individual being cared for is subject; or (2) the name of the health care provider who advised the individual being cared for to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19.
Employee is caring for a son or daughter whose school or place of care is closed, or child care provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19 precautions. Provide: (1) the name of the son or daughter being cared for; (2) the name(s) of the school(s), place(s) of care, or child care provider(s) that has/have closed or become unavailable; and (3) a representation that no other suitable person will be caring for the son or daughter during the period for which the employee takes EPSL or EFMLA.
Employee is experiencing substantially similar conditions as specified by the Secretary of HHS in consultation with the Secretaries of Labor and Treasury. We’ll let you know as soon as there is more information on this reason.
We’ve prepared model EPSL and EFMLA forms, as well as a model policies. Please let us know if you are interested in the templates.