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DOL Revises FFCRA Regulations Following Federal Court Decision

On September 11, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued revised regulations under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). These revisions, which are scheduled to take effect on September 16, were released in response to a recent New York federal court decision that struck down elements of the FFCRA final rule, New York v. U.S. Dep't of Labor, et al., No. 20-CV-3020 (S.D.N.Y. Aug. 3, 2020).

New York v. U.S. Dep't of Labor struck down four parts of the FFCRA final rule: (1) the requirement that FFCRA leave is available only if an employer has work available for the employee; (2) the requirement that an employee must gain his or her employer's consent before taking FFCRA leave intermittently; (3) the definition of who may be excluded from FFCRA leave as a "health care provider"; and (4) the requirement that an employee must provide his or her employers with certain notice and documentation before taking FFCRA leave.

In its revised regulations, the DOL clarifies and doubles down on some of its original positions, while making changes to other positions. Specifically, the DOL:

  • Reaffirms that paid leave under the FFCRA may only be taken if the employer has work available for the employee to perform and denies FFCRA leave to workers when their employers do not have work for them.

  • Reiterates that intermittent leave under FFCRA may only be taken with employer consent.

  • Amends and narrows the definition of "health care providers" who are excluded from FFCRA coverage. Under the revised definition, a worker is a health care provider only if the individual is "capable of providing health care services," including "diagnostic services, preventative services, treatment services, or other services that are integrated with and necessary to the provision of patient care." This means that FFCRA leave will now be available to certain health care industry employees—such as medical receptionists, records managers, maintenance staff, and others—who were previously excluded from coverage.

  • Clarifies that required documentation must be provided "as soon as practicable, which in most cases will be when the employee provides notice" of the need for FFCRA leave.

© 2020 Varnum LLPNational Law Review, Volume X, Number 260

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About this Author

Luis E. Avila, Labor Employment Attorney, Varnum Law, Immigration Issues Lawyer, Grand Rapids
Partner

Luis focuses his practice on labor, employment and immigration issues. Luis has a wide range of experience in traditional labor matters, including grievances, arbitrations, collective bargaining negotiations, union drives, and matters in front of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and the Michigan Employment Relations Commission (MERC). Luis has counseled employers on a number of workplace matters, including effective employee handbooks and policies, disciplinary and dispute resolution procedures, discrimination, disability accommodation, wage-hour matters, family medical leave, and...

616-336-6742
David E. Khorey, Labor Employment Attorney, Varnum, Workplace Confidentiality Matters Lawyer
Partner

Dave’s “client-centered” practice involves a variety of labor and employment issues. He provides practical and confidential ongoing advice and consulting on a number of sensitive and complex labor and employment matters, from problem employee situations to multi-facility collective bargaining negotiations. His representative clients include diverse industries (such as automotive, printing, transportation and hospitals) throughout the nation.  

Dave has also served as chair of the firm.

Honors & Recognitions

American College of Labor & Employment Lawyers, fellow

Best Lawyers in America® since 2001

Chambers USA©: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, Leader in the field of Labor and Employment

Leading Lawyers: Employment Law - Management; Labor Law - Management

Martindale-Hubbell® AV Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated

Michigan Super Lawyers® since 2006

Professional Affiliations

American Bar Association: Section of Labor and Employment Law, Subcommittee on Development of Law under the National Labor Relations Act

Grand Rapids Bar Association: Labor and Employment Law Section

State Bar of Michigan: Labor Relations Law Section, chair, 2004

616-336-6618
Ashleigh E. Draft Associate Grand Rapids Labor & Employment
Associate

Ashleigh is an associate attorney currently working with the labor and employment group. She also works with higher education clients and provides support on a variety of litigation matters.

Ashleigh’s experience includes serving as a legal extern for the Michigan Court of Appeals Research Division. She also clerked for Michigan Appeals Court Judge Jane Beckering. Prior to law school, Ashleigh served organizations in the higher education and nonprofit sectors in various development and communications roles. 

616-336-6627