On March 24, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Wage and Hour Division (WHD) issued guidance explaining the paid leave requirements under the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).

The language of the FFCRA said it would take effect no later than April 2, 2020; however, the DOL guidance gives an effective date of April 1, 2020.

The FFCRA expanded the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to allow partially compensated employee leave for child care purposes related to COVID-19. The FFCRA also provided for employee paid sick leave for specific COVID-19-related reasons, including an employee’s own illness or quarantine. The Act included other measures to address the effect of the coronavirus pandemic on workers.

The DOL’s guidance explains the two paid leave provisions in the FFCRA. The guidance addresses issues such as:

  • Which employers and employees are covered under the FFCRA;
  • How much leave employers are required to grant employees and for what pay;
  • Exemptions from the law;
  • What tax credits are available to employers to pay for the leave; and
  • Enforcement and penalties under the law.


  • Employers should review the DOL’s new guidance for insight on how the agency views compliance with the new law.
  • Employers should continue to monitor guidance from the DOL on implementation of the new law.

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