The Family First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) only provides leave benefits up until December 31, 2020, so it’s important to inform employees of limitations and manage expectations.
Due to the expiration of emergency paid sick leave (EPSL) and expanded family medical leave (EFML) at the end of the 2020 calendar year, employee entitlement to EFML in late September or October could be less than 12 weeks.
Counting family and medical leave
Principles of standard family and medical leave (FML) applied to EFML may impact an employee’s leave entitlement. Standard FML may be taken in the following ways:
- All at once (continuous)
- Intermittently (i.e., in blocks of time)
- On a reduced schedule (i.e., reduced number of hours per week or day)
When leave is taken in a continuous block of time and counted as weeks, any week that includes a holiday break that is less than the full week can be counted against the employee’s FML entitlement. However, when an employee is not scheduled to work or district activities temporarily cease or close down for one or more weeks, the time during the break does not count against the employee’s FML entitlement (i.e., two weeks of winter break).
These principles, along with the December expiration date means a teacher who begins EFML on a continuous basis on October 12, 2020, will have between 9–11 weeks of leave. The difference of the number of weeks depends on whether the Thanksgiving break and first week of winter break are partial or full weeks.
Manage employee expectations
To avoid any misunderstanding of leave availability, it’s important to make sure employees taking EFML leave understand the impact of the December expiration date on the length of leave. The FFCRA Leave Request Form, found in the HR Library, serves as the designation notice and should identify the number of weeks of leave available. The beginning and end date of EFML can also be included. Expectations for return to work at the end of leave should also be communicated to the employee.
April Mabry is as assistant director at TASB HR Services. Send April an email at email@example.com.
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