Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

We know business owners and HR professionals have questions and need answers quickly to rapidly changing laws concerning the coronavirus (“COVID-19”).

Grab a cup of coffee, login in and join me for a complimentary webinar on Monday morning, March 23, at 10:00 a.m., as I share information on:

  • Families First Coronavirus Response Act
  • Emergency Paid

It took a little longer than expected, but the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (the “Act”) is now law. Initially expected to go before the Senate on Monday, the House bill met with much industry resistance. The House then made some “minor technical corrections” (if 75 pages of corrections is minor) on Monday before sending it to the Senate on Tuesday. On Wednesday, March 18, the Senate approved the Act 90-8 (two Senators, one of whom was Sen. Rick Scott, were missing from the vote — self-quarantined due to possible exposure) and the President signed the Act into law a few hours later.

The final Act differs quite a bit from the initial House bill. Below is a summary of the major provisions that apply to employers.

March 20, 2020 Update

On March 20, 2020, the U.S. Treasury Department, IRS, and the U.S. Department of Labor officially announced that small and midsize employers can begin taking advantage of the two new refundable payroll tax credits immediately. This relief would allow these employers to be fully reimbursed, dollar-for-dollar for the cost of providing Coronavirus-related leave to their employees.

The Act becomes effective April 2, 15 days from the date it was signed into law. There are two subsets of the Act:

  1. The Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act; and
  2. The Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act.


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In an Administrative Interpretation issued yesterday, the Department of Labor clarified the definition of “son and daughter” as it applies to an employee standing “in loco parentis” to a child under the Family and Medical Act for purposes of non-military leave.  The Interpretation was intended to ensure an employee who assumes the role of caring for a child receives parental rights to family leave regardless of the legal or biological relationship.  With the Interpretation, the DOL made clear the FMLA, which allows employees to take leave for the birth or adoption of a child, extends to the various parenting relationships that exist in today’s world.

The definition of “son or daughter” includes a “biological, adopted, or foster child, a stepchild, a legal ward, or a child of a person standing in loco parentis.”  In loco parentis includes those with day-to-day responsibilities to care for and financially support a child.  Employees who have no legal or biological relationship with a child may nonetheless stand in loco parentis, and thus be entitled to FMLA leave.

The Interpretation clarifies that the regulations do not require an employee who intends to assume the responsibilities of a parent to establish that he or she provides both day-to-day care and financial support.  The Interpretation lists several examples, including an employee who provides day-to-day care but does not financially support his or her unmarried partner’s child with whom there is no legal or biological relationship.  It also lists, as an example, an employee who will share equally in the raising of an adopted child with a same-sex partner, but who does not have a legal relationship with the child.


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The Employment Law Practice Group is pleased to provide the February 2010 edition of the Employment Law Update, which features the following articles:

  • Did you know that Florida ranks second only to California in the number of wage and hour suits brought against employers?  Robert Shearman provides employers with a timely update and advice