Stay of Non-Enforcement Issued: Families First Coronavirus Response Act through 4/17/20
The United States Department of Labor (DOL) has issued a Temporary Non-Enforcement Period concerning the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) through April 17, 2020 so long as employers have made a "good faith" and reasonable effort to comply with the law.
Guidelines were published by DOL in a document entitled "Field Assistance Bulletin No. 2020-1" and appear in pertinent part below:
The Department (of Labor) will not bring enforcement actions against any public or private employer for violations of the Act occurring within 30 days of the enactment of the FFCRA, i.e. March 18 through April 17, 2020, provided that the employer has made reasonable, good faith efforts to comply with the Act. For purposes of this non-enforcement position, an employer who is found to have violated the FFCRA acts “reasonably” and “in good faith” when all of the following facts are present:
The employer remedies any violations, including by making all affected employees whole as soon as practicable. As explained in a Joint Statement by the Department, the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued on March 20, 2020,  this program is designed to ensure that all covered employers have access to sufficient resources to pay required sick leave and family leave wages.
The violations of the Act were not “willful” based on the criteria set forth in McLaughlin v. Richland Shoe, 486 U.S. 128, 133 (1988) (the employer “either knew or showed reckless disregard for the matter of whether its conduct was prohibited…”).
The Department receives a written commitment from the employer to comply with the Act in the future. (Emphasis added).
If the public or private employer either (i) violates the Act willfully, (ii) fails to provide a written commitment to future compliance with the Act, or (iii) fails to remedy the violation upon notification by Department, the employee seeking payment, or a representative of that employee, including by making all affected employees whole as soon as practicable, the Department reserves its right to exercise its enforcement authority.
After April 17, 2020, this limited stay of enforcement will be lifted, and the Department will fully enforce violations of the Act, as appropriate and consistent with the law.
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The DOL has published answers to commonly asked questions regarding the FFCRA here:
Further guidance concerning the FFCRA is expected to be issued by the DOL. We will continue to report on further developments on this blog.