A Potential Childcare Disruption for Rehired EmployeesClient Alert
As businesses reopen, employers with fewer than 500 employees need to brush up on the FFCRA Paid Leave rules, including a potential disruption to your return to operations.
Under the FFCRA, employees may be eligible for up to 80 hours of Emergency Paid Sick Leave, and up to 12 weeks of paid Emergency Childcare Leave. The eligibility and use of Childcare Leave have presented the most questions. Check out Bryan Meek’s article about summer vacations.
Under the FFCRA and the Department of Labor guidance, employees would be eligible for Childcare Leave only if the employer had them on its payroll for at least 30 calendar days immediately prior to the day leave would begin.
Many of the reinstated employees have been on unemployment, rather than the employer’s payroll for the past month or so.
Does this mean the rehired employees are not eligible for Childcare Leave until they work for at least a month? Not necessarily.
Why? Under the CARES Act, Congress added a loophole for rehired employees. If an employee was laid off on or after March 1, 2020 and is then rehired, the employee is immediately eligible for Childcare Leave if the employee worked 30 of the last 60 calendar days prior to layoff.
What is the concern? An employee can return to work as part of a rehire program for one day, and then go on 12 weeks of a combination of Emergency Sick Leave and Emergency Childcare Leave paid at a 2/3 rate up to $200 per day.
What should employers do? The Childcare Leave process is designed to be interactive. Engage in an interactive process with your employees about their scheduling and childcare needs. You can remind employees that the childcare disruptions will likely extend into the next school year, so it’s wise to conserve the leave for when it is absolutely necessary.