Employers are required to document employee requests for paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, regardless of whether the request is granted or denied. Department of Labor FFCRA regulations specify the kind of information that employees must provide and that employers must document prior to commencing COVID-19 leave. According to the DOL, documentation for paid COVID-19 leave must include:
- the employee’s name;
- the dates for which leave is requested;
- the reason for leave; and
- an oral or written statement from the employee that he or she is unable to work because of the stated reason for leave.
Depending on the reason for paid leave, employees may need to provide additional information that must be documented by employers. An employee requesting paid sick leave because he or she is subject to a federal, state or local COVID-19 quarantine or isolation order must provide the name of the government entity that issued the order. An employee who has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to COVID-19 concerns must provide the name of the health care provider.
An employee requesting paid sick leave to care for an individual who is subject to quarantine or isolation order or who has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine must provide the employer with either the name of the government entity that issued the order or the name of the health care provider that advised the individual to self-quarantine. The “individual” requiring care must be an immediate family member, a person who regularly resides in the employee’s home, or a similar person with whom the employee has a relationship that creates an expectation of care.
An employee requesting paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave to care for a minor son or daughter whose school or place of care is closed due to COVID-19 must provide:
- school, place of care or child care provider that is closed or unavailable; and
- a representation that no other suitable person will be caring for the child during the period for which the employee is requesting leave.
Employees must also provide any additional information required by the Internal Revenue Service for the employer to claim the tax credit for providing paid leave under the FFCRA. An employer is not required to provide FFCRA leave to an employee who fails to provide information or materials needed to support the employer’s claim for a tax credit.
Employers should proceed cautiously when presented with requests for COVID-19 leave to ensure compliance with the FFCRA’s requirements. This may include seeking counsel from a licensed professional. Please contact us for additional information about protecting your business during the COVID-19 pandemic.