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Expanded FMLA and Emergency Paid Sick Leave

Expanded FMLA and Emergency Paid Sick Leave

Updated June 12, 2020

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) expands the existing federal Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to cover child care responsibilities. Between April 1, 2020 and December 31, 2020, employees who have been on WIS payroll for at least 30 days, are unable to work or telework, and need to provide child care due to a COVID-19 related school or child care closure can apply for Expanded FMLA.

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”) provides financial and leave assistance to employees impacted by the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. The FFCRA provides emergency Paid Sick Leave for uses related to COVID-19 (“Emergency Paid Sick Leave”) and temporarily expands leave provisions under the Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”).
 

Unable to work or telework

An employee is considered unable to work if WIS has work available and one of the COVID-19 qualifying reasons prevents them from being able to perform that work, either at their normal work location or through telework.

To the extent the employee is able to telework while caring for their child, Expanded FMLA is not available. If both the employee and the district mutually agree that the employee will work their normal number of hours, but outside of their normal work schedule (e.g., working early in the morning or late at night), then the employee is considered able to work and Expanded FMLA is not necessary unless a COVID-19 qualifying reason prevents them from working that schedule.

Employees who believe they meet at least one of the criteria described below for expanded FMLA Complete This Request Form and/or Emergency Paid Sick Leave and want to request leave should Complete This Request Form or request the form from Chantell Young Chief at chantell.young-chief@wyo4life.net.
 

Please review the Department of Labor Notice for additional information.

Expanded FMLA

Current employees who have been employed for at least 30 days are now eligible to take FMLA leave if they cannot work or telework due to having to care for the Employee’s child who is under 18 years of age or eighteen (18) years of age or older with a mental or physical disability who is incapable of self-care due to the disability)  if the child’s school or place of care has been closed, or the childcare provider is unavailable, due to a public health emergency related to COVID-19 declared by Federal, State, or local authority (“Expanded FMLA Leave”).


After the first ten days of Expanded FMLA Leave which are unpaid, employees on such leave will receive up to 10 additional weeks of paid leave at the rate of two-thirds of the employee’s usual rate of pay and usual hours worked, up to a maximum of $200 per day and $10,000 total. An employee may substitute any form of paid leave for unpaid portions of leave. For example, the employee could use the new Emergency Paid Sick Leave to cover the first ten unpaid days of Expanded FMLA Leave.

Expanded FMLA Leave may be taken beginning April 1, 2020. The right to take Expanded FMLA Leave is no longer available after December 31, 2020.

Qualifying criteria

Employees can apply for Expanded FMLA if WIS has work available but the employee is unable to work or telework due to a need to care for a child under 18 years of age because their school or place of care has been closed, or the child care provider is unavailable due to COVID-19 related reasons. As part of the application process, employees will need to provide basic information related to their child care situation, including certifying that no other person (such as a co-parent) will be providing child care during the period the employee is receiving FMLA. Employees with a child older than 14 whose care occurs during daylight hours will be asked to attach a statement that special circumstances exist requiring that the employee provide care.

If you are eligible for and would like to take Expanded FMLA Leave, please complete the Request for Expanded FMLA and Emergency Sick Leave form. Chantell Young Chief, Director of HR, will reach out to you with next steps.

Interaction with FMLA and other time offs

If an employee was already FMLA eligible prior to the FFCRA, taking FMLA for the COVID-19 qualifying condition counts against the employee’s existing FMLA entitlement (12 workweeks/480 hours prorated for part time employment). If an employee has previously exhausted their FMLA entitlement, the employee will be ineligible to take COVID-19 related Expanded FMLA.

Employees are not required to use other paid time off (e.g., sick or vacation) before using Expanded FMLA, but only classified staff and FLSA nonexempt professional staff employees may use their existing sick time balances concurrently to supplement the 2/3 pay requirement to meet 100 percent of wages.


You may also be able to take ordinary FMLA Leave if you or a family member are impacted by COVID-19 in a manner that makes you eligible for FMLA leave. For example, if you contract COVID-19 and it becomes a serious health condition, then you may be eligible for ordinary FMLA leave. As another example, if a family member contracted COVID-19 and you are providing care to them while they have a serious health condition, then you may also take FMLA leave. These are only two examples of several instances in which you may be eligible to take FMLA leave, and we encourage you to learn more via the DOL website.
 

Intermittent use

When the WIS has work available and the employee is teleworking, Expanded FMLA may be used because the employee is unable to work their regular number of hours during telework due to a COVID-19 related reason. In this case, Expanded FMLA may be used in partial days to account for missed work hours.

If an employee’s job requires presence at the workplace, intermittent Expanded FMLA is allowed only when the employee and the district agree upon such a schedule. For example, if the employee and department agree, the employee could take Expanded FMLA on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, but come to the workplace on Tuesdays and Thursdays, while their child’s school or place of care is closed, or child care provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19 related reasons.


To request ordinary FMLA leave, contact the Chantell Young Chief, Director of HR, at chantell.young-chief@wyo4life.net or (307) 332-9765 ext. 3116.

Duration

If the employee no longer has a qualifying reason for taking Expanded FMLA, it may be used at a later time, until December 31, 2020, if the qualifying reason reoccurs. For example, if an employee’s child returns to school because their school reopens, but their school closes again at a later date, the employee may continue to use Expanded FMLA until their entitlement expires or until December 31, 2020, whichever comes first.

Interaction with furlough

Employees are not eligible for Expanded FMLA during a furlough period.

Emergency Sick Leave

The FFCRA also provides Emergency Paid Sick Leave to all employees, even if they are not eligible for Expanded FMLA Leave. Emergency Paid Sick Leave is in addition to accrued paid leave provided under WIS Benefits and Leave Requirements Policy.

Eligible full-time employees may receive up to 80 hours of Emergency Paid Sick Leave. Part-time employees receive up to the number of hours that they would work, on average, over a two-week period.

Emergency Paid Sick leave may only be taken for the following six reasons:

  1. Employee is subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19.
  2. Employee has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19.
  3. Employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis.
  4. Employee is caring for an individual who is subject to an order as described in 1 or has been advised as described in 2.
  5. Employee is caring for a child of such employee if the school or place of care of the child has been closed or the childcare provider is unavailable due to COVID-19 precautions.
  6. Employee is experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of Labor.


Employees who use Emergency Paid Sick Leave for reasons #1-3 are paid at their regular rate of pay and the number of hours the employee would otherwise be normally scheduled to work, up to a maximum of $511 per day and $5,110 in the aggregate.

Employees who use Emergency Paid Sick Leave for reasons #4-6 are paid at 2/3 their regular rate of pay and the number of hours the employee would otherwise be normally scheduled to work, up to a maximum of $200 per day and $2,000 in the aggregate.

The full allowed amount, up to 80 hours, is granted and may begin to be used effective April 1, 2020. The right to use such Emergency Paid Sick Leave expires on December 31, 2020. Unused Emergency Paid Sick Leave is not paid out upon termination of employment.

If you are eligible to use Emergency Paid Sick Leave, please complete the 
Request for Expanded FMLA and Emergency Paid Sick Leave online form. Chantell Young Chief, Director of HR, will review your request and reach out to you with next steps.

 

Contact Chantell YoungChief

School Phone:
307-332-9765 x 3116