DOL Publishes Mandatory Model FFCRA Notice to Employees
The United States Department of Labor has released its Model Notice to employees explaining Paid Sick Leave and Expanded Family and Medical Leave rights under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.
The language of the Act is not clear as to whether all employers must post the notice, or whether only employers with fewer than 500 employees are required to do so (though the DOL's Frequently Asked Questions suggest that only covered employers must post the notice). In either event, employers must post the notice “in conspicuous places on the premises where notices are customarily posted.” These would be places employers usually display things like all-in-one labor posters and wage orders.
We also recommend that employers place the notice on their employee portals or online (with other employment rights and benefits information) when applicable. This is particularly important while employees are working remotely during the pandemic. (The DOL's Frequently Asked Questions also comment that employers may mail or e-mail the notice to employees, though this is not mentioned in the law.)
Employers are not required to provide notices directly to employees, but the Model Notice should be posted before April 1, 2020 (the date the Act becomes effective). Future regulations may permit employers to substitute their own similar notice, but these rules will not be published until some time in April or later.
Significantly, the Model Notice does not advise employees that employers with fewer than fifty employees may opt out of the Act’s paid family leave requirements if they meet certain criteria. These criteria will be in regulations promised by the DOL for April but are currently unknown. This means employers must post the notice without knowing whether they qualify for the opt-out.