U.S. Dept. of Labor Responds (Surprisingly) Quickly to the  Families First (Coronavirus) Response Act

By Keith E. Kendall, Esq

In my long experience waiting for, interpreting and acting upon state and federal laws, I’ve more often than not been frustrated by the seeming snail’s pace at which laws make it “on the books.” It seems the legal community knows that particular laws are “in the pipeline,” but have no idea if and/or when most laws will be enacted and take effect.

Not so with the relatively swift enactment of the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA); or the even swifter response of the US. Department of Labor (“USDOL”) to explain the impact of the FFCRA in the workplace, for both employees ( Fact Sheet for Employees) and employers (Fact Sheet for Employers), which is available in both English and Spanish.

Separate from the enactment of the FFCRA, implementation of the Act via federal regulations, and guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) have been even more quickly generated and implemented, and guidance is available on the DOL’s Coronavirus web site. DOL has created - seemingly overnight - clear and concise guidance about how DOL can and may enforce the Act, at https://www.dol.gov/newsroom/releases/whd/whd20200403.

The USDOL guidance includes - among other useful information - a Questions and Answers page about postings required in the workplace that notify employees of their rights under the law, and about posting requirements for employers, in a Field Assistance Bulletin that describes, among other information, a 30-day non-enforcement policy by the Wage and Hour Division (“WHD”) of the USDOL.

The actions by the DOL are to be commended, but the work of practical interpretation and implementation of the various provisions of the law has just started. We at Scaringi Law are keeping pace with our review and understanding of the relatively complex legal matters may need to be addressed and resolved “in the field.” We will continue to post about the practical legal impact of the FFCRA for those in the work-a-day world who have or may have issues about implementation of this vital law; and we welcome inquiries about it. or help understanding the law.

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