As we approach the new year, it's crucial to stay informed about the latest developments…
Today, students in Louisiana’s largest school system, Jefferson Parish, reported for classes in person. Meanwhile, on Friday, Orleans Parish Schools, who started the semester with virtual teaching, announced a phased return to traditional learning – similar to St. Tammany Parish Schools’ staggered reopening approach beginning September 8th.
Accordingly, working parents are facing myriad challenges as children resume their studies in alternative formats due to the continuing COVID-19 crisis. Last week, the DOL released more questions and answers related to new school schedules and paid leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). Under new guidance for businesses with less than 500 employees, when a child’s school is operating on a hybrid attendance schedule in which students are attending school in person on some days while doing remote learning on others, employees are eligible for paid leave under FFCRA on remote learning days. Employees would not be entitled to FFCRA leave for days that a child is in school. Note that this seems to be a departure from the DOL’s published rule on intermittent leave, which stated that intermittent leave was allowed under the FFCRA only by agreement of an employer and employee, but is consistent with the NY District Court ruling invalidating some of the DOL regulations. Where a school gives parents the choice between having their child attend in person or participate in remote learning and the parent chooses remote learning, the new guidance clarifies that the employee is not eligible for paid leave under FFCRA because the school is not “closed.” However, the DOL notes that the situation would be different if a child is under a quarantine order or is advised to self-isolate, in which case the parent may be eligible to take paid FFCRA sick leave to care for the child.
The DOL also issued a letter on expanded unemployment eligibility under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance provisions, which cover people who are unable to work because they are providing primary care for a child who is unable to attend school because of the pandemic, among other reasons. On the other hand, the rise in unemployment filings and the expansion of jobless benefits in the wake of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic have facilitated an explosion of fraud across the country. Please make sure you are responding to phony unemployment claims and assisting employees whose personal information has been stolen. Delta is here to help with navigating any issues with these impersonators, so don’t hesitate to contact us with any suspicion.
Lastly, Teladoc has activated its natural disaster hotline for general medical care at no cost for individuals who have been displaced or impacted by the wildfires (in California, Colorado and Oregon) and Hurricane Laura (in Louisiana, Texas and Arkansas).