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Last week, the federal Labor Department issued guidance on how the coronavirus leave laws will impact parents now that schools are reopening. Connell Foley attorney Michael Shadiack breaks down the new information for employers in the law firm’s latest blog post. Connell Foley is NJBIA’s Employment Law Resources provider.

A new federal paid leave program was included in the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which was enacted back in March. The paid leave and related unpaid leave provisions are available to parents who have to care for children whose schools are closed because of coronavirus. Employers are able to recover the full cost of the leave by receiving refundable tax credits against their federal payroll taxes.

At the time, all schools were closed. Now that schools are reopening, the qualifications are a little more complicated.

“The USDOL released three additional FAQs in anticipation of the varying demands imposed upon employees and employers given the continued impact(s) of COVID-19 and the start of a new school year,” Shadiack writes. “The three FAQs … are designed to provide clarity on applicable FFCRA benefits. Employers are advised to take notice of the USDOL’s new guidance to ensure compliance.”

Employees whose children’s schools are operating on a combination of in-person lessons and remote learning are eligible to take leave for the days their children are at home. The existing FFCRA requirements still apply, namely that you need the leave to actually care for your child and no other suitable person is available to do so.

Employees whose children’s schools are open but who do not want to send them for fear of infection are not eligible for paid leave. An employee whose child is at home under a quarantine order or has been advised by a health care provider to self-isolate or self-quarantine may be eligible to take paid leave.

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