On Wednesday, the United States Department of Labor (“DOL”) posted a temporary rule issuing regulations implementing the paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave requirements established by the recently enacted Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”), which went into effect this week.
The Department’s temporary rule, which is available here, covers significant ground in terms of delineating workers’ and employers’ rights and responsibilities under the FFCRA, as well as how employers must go about determining what obligations they have thereunder. Included in the numerous topics and aspects of the new law addressed and explained is one particular question (among many, many others) that almost everyone has been asking since the President signed the FFCRA into law just over two weeks ago: Is there a “small business exemption” for employers with fewer than 50 employees and when and how does that exemption apply to exclude a small business from the provisions of the FFCRA? In short, as explained below, yes, there is a small business exemption available to private employers that have fewer than 50 employees, but it only is available under certain circumstances and is not a full-blown exclusion. Even qualifying small businesses are not absolved of all paid leave obligations under the Act.