On July 20, the Department of Labor announced that it has published more guidance for workers and employers on how the protections and requirements of the FLSA (19 questions), the FMLA (13 questions), and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) (now 96 questions addressing definitions, eligibility, coverage, application, and enforcement) and COBRA.
The U.S. Department of Labor understands how critically American workers and employers need this information as they return to work" WHD Administrator Cheryl Stanton said in a release "With so many workers and employers committed to the greatest comeback the American workforce has ever seen, we are providing ongoing guidance to help them better understand their rights and responsibilities to protect workers and help ensure a level playing field for employers as our economy recovers."
The Wage and Hour Division guidance includes commonly asked questions and answers (Q&As) that address critical issues in all three laws; this guidance has been periodically updated, but each guidance document is not separately dated.
Updated FFCRA Compliance Assistance
The DOL said that the new guidance is the latest addition to that compliance assistance materials that the WHD has published. These materials include information about the FFCRA:
An Updated FFCRA Fact Sheet for Employees;
A Updated FFCRA Fact Sheet for Employers;
A Updated FFCRA Questions and Answers resource:
A guidance poster for federal workers (that fulfills notice requirements);
A guidance poster for all other employees (that fulfills notice requirements);
Questions and Answers about posting requirements; and
Simple Quick Benefits Tips to determine how much paid leave the FFCRA allows workers to take.
As part of the federal government's COVID-19 relief response, the Department of Labor has released updated information and verbiage in regards to COBRA amidst COVID-19.
Qualified beneficiaries are now able to make initial COBRA elections and payments after their initial election as well as able to be reinstated if the premium payment deadline has passed. This applies to anyone with active COBRA coverage, or anyone whose COBRA coverage was terminated as a result of a late payment and/or failure to make an election on or after March 1, 2020.
- The deadline to make an initial election for all members is extended and will expire 60 days after the COVID-19 National Disaster Declaration is lifted.
- All Cobra paperwork will reflect the standard COBRA election and payment deadlines with a note to members to call and request to elect if past their initial 60 days during this COVID-19 event.
- Insurance carriers will still not be notified of COBRA enrollments until initial payments have been made.
- Additionally, at this time, payment amounts are not being forgiven, so it's important that members continue to send in payment for their coverage as normal in order to continue to utilize their COBRA continuation rights.
- If any members are terminated during this time and still wish to pay for enrollment before the declaration deadline they are within their rights to be reinstated, however they must pay for the full outstanding balance from which they were termed in order to be reinstated.
We have added some links of information in regards to the DOL’s releases below.