Intermittent paid sick leave and expanded FMLA under the FFCRA.
Updated: Apr 2
Employees are juggling a lot right now. Between exposure to COVID-19, becoming overnight homeschoolers, and trying to navigate their new normals, the need for intermittent leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) will be a real reality for most business owners.
What is intermittent leave?
Intermittent leave is when we allow an employee to be flexible with their schedules and when they use paid leave. For example, if we have an employee who is able to work some days or maybe some hours within their normally scheduled work shifts, intermittent leave would allow them to supplement their time with paid sick leave. For example, an employee who typically works 8-hour shifts during the day now has to provide care for their children due to a school closure. They are now only able to work two hours in the evening. You would pay them for the two hours of work and supplement their time with six hours of intermittent leave.
Do employers have to provide intermittent leave?
No. The Department of Labor (DOL) has stated that it is up to the employer to decide whether they want to provide intermittent leave to their employees.
When can employees use intermittent leave if I offer it?
Employees should only use intermittent leave when leave is related to child-care responsibilities. If an employee is self-quarantining or caring for an individual who is quarantined, they should not take intermittent leave.
Do I have to provide intermittent leave to all of my employees or can I choose which employees are allowed?
As with many HR questions, we would answer this one with a very cautious, "it depends". Being consistent in your practices is ideal. When we offer different benefits to employees we can easily put our business at risk for discrimination claims. We suggest having a policy in place that covers all employees and if that's not an option for your business, take requests for intermittent leave on a case-by-case basis. Work with your employees to figure out what will work best for both parties.
How do I track intermittent leave?
If you work with a payroll company, we suggest taking a look at their payroll systems to determine what kind of tracking system they are able to offer you and your team. Or you kick it old school and create a spreadsheet to help you track each employee's use of leave.
In a recent Forbes article, they stated that "women are eight times more likely than men to look after sick children or manage their children's schedules, which will take time out of their workday or other daily responsibilities." As we look at providing intermittent paid sick and expanded FMLA leave for parents who are caring for children, remember to be fair in your practices and work with your employees to figure out a solution that works for both parties.
Last revision date: 04/02/2020