Breaking News: DOL Releases new FAQ’s Addressing FFCRA Leave for Remote Schooling

Yesterday, the federal DOL released three separate FAQ’s addressing the issue of FFCRA’s application to remote learning situations.  This is an area that had been lacking clarity so the new FAQ’s are particularly welcome and timely, given the impending start of school. 

We know that the FFCRA applies to eligible employees where a child’s school is closed.   As we surmised, if the school is open but with a remote option and the parent chooses that remote option, the employee may not be eligible for leave, depending on the circumstances.

The first FAQ deals with hybrid learning, i.e. where the students are in school some days and remote on others.  In those situations, not surprisingly, the DOL has affirmed that FFCRA leave will apply for days when the child’s learning is remote.  By implication, that means that for days when school is in session for that child, the FFCRA will not apply.

The second FAQ addresses the situation where a parent has a choice of remote or in-school learning.  If a parent has that choice, and chooses remote, the FFCRA will not apply, even if the reason is the parent’s fear of the child’s exposure to COVID.  The reason is that the school is not “closed” due to COVID–19 related reasons as required by the law.

The third FAQ addresses the situation where a school starts as remote, with the possibility that it may open to in-person attendance later on.  Again, the FFCRA would be available while the school days are remote.   If the school later changes the learning process and opens, either fully or partially, the same rule as above will apply- the FFCRA will only be available on remote instruction days.

Anne-Marie L. Storey, Attorney at Law, Rudman Winchell
Anne-Marie Storey, Esq
Rudman Winchell
207-947-4501