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Employment Law

School’s back…now what?

Considering kids are supposed to start school any day and school districts’ plans are still in flux, many questions are being raised related to remote learning and childcare. As you may know, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) kicks in when an employee is caring for a child and the school or place of care of the employee’s child is closed. In that case, the employee is eligible for 80 hours of paid sick leave under the FFCRA and 10 weeks of expanded family medical leave.

But, what happens if the school attended by the employee’s child, gives a choice of remote learning or in-person learning? Does the FFCRA cover remote learning? The answer will depend upon why the children are remote learning as provided in the following scenarios:

  1. If school is open for in-person learning and parents choose the remote learning option – No FFCRA leave;
  2. If school is 100 percent remote – FFCRA leave is allowed (unless the child is old enough not to need parental supervision – see below);
  3. Children attend a mix of in-person and remote learning per a school schedule – Intermittent FFCRA leave (if the employer agrees).

Please note that under scenario 1, parents may still might qualify for FFCRA leave if the child is remote learning because a doctor or other health care professional advises that the child self-quarantine due to concerns specific to Covid-19 (e.g., the child is diabetic or has an auto-immune disease). Under scenario 2, employers should make sure the employee certifies that no other suitable person will be caring for the child during the period for which the employee takes FFCRA leave.
These are scenarios employers should plan for before they arise. Employers should make decisions based on where their employees work and apply them consistently. Please note the FFCRA applies to employers with fewer than 500 employees. Those employers with fewer than 50 employees can get a hardship exemption if they qualify under a set of criteria. We understand these are challenging times and the information is frequently updated. If you have any questions, please contact Bob Lepp at or another member of our Employment Law group

Tue Aug 11, 7:54am

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