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The U.S. DOL Issues First Round of Regulations Interpreting the Federal Paid Sick and Medical Leave Law In Response to COVID-19

March 26, 2020

By: Kimberly Klein

On March 25, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) published its first round of implementing regulations (the “Regulations”) to help businesses comply with the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (the “Act” or “FFCRA”).  The Act provides paid sick and family leave under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (“EPSL”) and the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act for workers struggling as a result of the Coronavirus and goes into effect April 1, 2020.  For a comprehensive summary of the Act, please see our article here

For the most part, the Regulations address how employers should count employees, calculate wages and count hours worked.  For instance, the Act only applies to those businesses with under 500 employees.  The Regulation detail which employees should be included and whether an employer with separate establishments or divisions is a single employer.  Likewise, the Regulations detail how to calculate an employee’s regular rate of pay for full and part-time employees.

The Regulations do clarify that you cannot double dip.  For instance, if an employee uses the full 80 hours of paid sick leave due to the employees own medical condition, the employee is not entitled to take another 80 hours to care for an individual with a COVID-19 medical-related condition.  In addition, the Act is not retroactive.  If an employee received paid sick leave for a reason also articulated in the EPSL prior to April 1, 2020, the employee is entitled to additional leave under the EPSL after April 1, 2020.

The DOL has not yet addressed the small business exemption or how the Act may effect employers’ ability to lay off workers as a result of COVID-19 and government-issued quarantine and isolation orders.  Employers with 50 or fewer employees may be exempt from the FFCRA if they meet certain criteria.  The DOL advises that these regulations are forthcoming.

If you have any questions concerning the above, or any questions concerning the Regulations or the Act, please contact me at (212) 554-7853 or


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