DOL issues new COVID-19 guidance. Plus, six can’t-miss FREE webinars for HR. And another Friday chat with me.

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I can’t help but notice that many of you are confused about the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. A few of you with whom I have communicated have been getting different answers to the same question from different employment lawyers. And I know how frustrating that can be.

Today, I want to help clear up some confusion for you.

More guidance from the DOL.

To help with that, first, I’ve got for you this brand new U.S. Department of Labor “Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Questions and Answers.” Now, admittedly, most of this new resource is nothing new. However, there is some further helpful information.

For example:

🎯 The DOL clarified that FFCRA’s paid leave provisions are effective on April 1, 2020 (NOT April 2)

🎯We also have a much better idea of how to calculate the 500-employee FFCRA coverage threshold. That is, you have fewer than 500 employees if, at the time your employee’s leave is to be taken, you employ fewer than 500 full-time and part-time employees within the United States.

In making this determination, you should include employees on leave; temporary employees who are jointly employed by you and another employer (regardless of whether the jointly-employed employees are maintained on only your or another employer’s payroll); and day laborers supplied by a temporary agency (regardless of whether you are the temporary agency or the client firm if there is a continuing employment relationship). Workers who are independent contractors under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), rather than employees, are not considered employees for purposes of the 500-employee threshold. The guidance also begins to explain how to add employees of two entities for purposes of determining for purposes of the 500-employee threshold

🎯When calculating pay due to employees, you must include overtime hours worked. For example, an employee who is scheduled to work 50 hours a week may take 50 hours of paid sick leave in the first week and 30 hours of paid sick leave in the second week. In any event, the total number of hours paid under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act is limited to 80.

🎯PSL is capped at 80 hours. An employee may take up to two weeks—or ten days—(80 hours for a full-time employee, or for a part-time employee, the number of hours equal to the average number of hours that the employee works over a typical two-week period) of paid sick leave for any combination of qualifying reasons.

🎯PSL and expanded FMLA run concurrently and are NOT retroactive. Any leave taken before April 1 does not count against FFCRA leave entitlements.

A little help from my friends.

Like you, I become inundated with so much coronavirus information about the workplace that it can be hard to separate the wheat from the chaff, especially with webinars.

Oh, the webinars! There are so freaking many of them.

But, by now, I’ve developed a pretty good filter. And below, I’ve curated a few that you may want to check out:

All times (EDT)


  • ICYMI, Jeff Nowak examined practical issues for employers in navigating the new federal emergency paid FMLA and sick leave mandates. You can watch that webinar here.


  • Kate Bischoff is a machine! She will be presenting three times today (@ 10 AM, 3 PM, and 7 PM). All the details are here.
  • At noon, Jon Hyman will be discussing all things coronavirus and workplace on Zoom. Click here to attend. No registration required.


  • At sometime in the afternoon — not sure when — the EEOC will post a pre-recorded webinar addressing questions arising under any of the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Laws and the COVID-19 pandemic. Details here.

And what about me?

Ok, twist my arm.

I’ll be back with another Facebook Live chat on Friday at noon eastern, which you can watch here.

Absent any technical difficulties, I plan to live stream on YouTube too. So, subscribe to The Employer Handbook YouTube channel and click that little bell notification icon on the YouTube page to get alerts.

As always, if you have a hypothetical question for a friend that you’d like for me to answer in a way that doesn’t involve any legal advice or create any attorney-client privilege, then email me. And I’ll see what I can do for your friend.

“Doing What’s Right – Not Just What’s Legal”
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