The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has updated its frequently asked questions on paid leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The DOL added questions #94 to 97. As we initially reported in March, the FFCRA applies to employers with fewer than 500 employees within the United States. These new FAQs address COVID-19 leave questions related to furloughs and returning employees to work. Specifically they explain the following:
In certain circumstances, such as having a uniform policy requiring a negative test for COVID-19 after exposure to a known case, you may require an employee returning to work after taking FFCRA leave to telework or take leave until the employee tests negative for COVID-19.
An employee who has used 80 hours of FFCRA paid sick leave prior to a furlough has no FFCRA paid sick leave available for use upon returning to work after that furlough.
An employee who uses some but not all 12 weeks of expanded family and medical leave (EFMLA) under FFCRA before a furlough has the remainder available for use upon being recalled after the furlough. However, the post-furlough EFMLA request should be considered a new leave request and require submission of new documentation.
You cannot use an employee’s potential need for EFMLA leave to care for the employee’s child as a reason to extend an employee’s furlough.