In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act that, in part, provides emergency sick leave and expanded family and medical leave for employees who need to care for children whose schools had been closed as a result of the virus.
Now that the school year is ending and summer breaks are beginning, the question is whether these two provisions still apply since school is closed not due to coronavirus, but due to the normal schedule.
The federal Department of Labor addressed this issue in a recent update to its FAQs. The short answer is, no, paid sick leave and emergency family and medical leave are not available if the school or child care provider is closed for summer vacation.
The longer answer includes this exception: “However, the employee may be able to take leave if his or her child’s care provider during the summer – a camp or other programs in which the employee’s child is enrolled – is closed or unavailable for a COVID-19 related reason.”
In other words, if an employee continues to request emergency leave now that the school year is finished, it would be a good idea to ask for an updated statement with the post-school year leave dates being requested and stating that the employee is unable to work or telework because the named child’s summer childcare provider is closed or unavailable due to COVID-19. This statement should include the name of such provider and a statement that no other suitable person is available to care for the child.
Please let us know if you have any questions. Those who use Tony Wilson with NUVISION Financial Corporation can contact him directly.