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U.S. Department of Labor Issues Additional Guidance on COVID-19 Employee Leave Laws

March 31, 2020

By: Morey Raiskin & Rachel D. Gebaide

Tomorrow (April 1), the Families First Coronavirus Response Act becomes effective and requires employers of 500 or less employees to provide paid sick leave and paid FMLA to all employees for certain qualifying reasons, most of which have been discussed in prior articles here and here.

To assist employers and employees, the U.S Department of Labor has issued very informative, easy-to-understand Questions and Answers which detail the applicability of the new employee leave laws and which cover many “real life” examples. The DOL’s Q&A document is a valuable and practical resource that employers will find useful, with information on the following topics: 

  • How small businesses which employ less than 50 employees can pursue an exemption to the Emergency Paid Sick Leave and Expanded (Paid) FMLA Leave requirements.

  • Whether employees may take Emergency Paid Sick Leave or Expanded FMLA Leave intermittently [Spoiler Alert: The answer is “yes”].

  • The expanded definition of “health care provider” for purposes of which employers are excluded from providing leave under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave and Expanded FMLA Leave laws.

  • Employer record-keeping obligations.

Importantly, the Department of Labor has also issued a Field Assistance Bulletin to its Field Offices which temporarily suspends enforcement of these newly enacted employee leave laws until April 17, 2020 for covered employers who, in good faith, are making efforts to comply with the new obligations imposed upon them. 

Hopefully, employers will find these links to the DOL’s pronouncements on these important new laws helpful. If questions remain, please contact Morey Raiskin, Rachel Gebaide, or the Lowndes lawyer you regularly work with for additional assistance.

For up-to-date news please follow our Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response Team page.

This article is informational only. You should consult an attorney before acting or failing to act. The law may change rapidly and no warranty is given. LOWNDES DISCLAIMS ALL IMPLIED WARRANTIES AND WITHOUT LIMITATION, ANY WARRANTY OF FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. ALL ARTICLES ARE PROVIDED AS IS AND WITH ALL FAULTS. Consult a Lowndes attorney if you wish to establish an attorney/client relationship.

A Florida Supreme Court Certified Circuit Civil Mediator, Morey Raiskin works in the firm’s Labor & Employment Group.

Over the past 38 years, Morey has represented management of both large and small employers. He has successfully litigated cases in state and federal courts and represented clients in administrative proceedings involving the EEOC, DOL and FCHR. Morey also serves as an advisor to his clients, counseling them on virtually any workplace issue they may confront.

Morey develops non-compete and employment agreements, personnel policies, employment application forms, employee handbooks, and counsels clients on wage and hour, discrimination, WARN Act planning and union avoidance strategies. He litigates these same issues in state and federal courts or in administrative proceedings before the EEOC, U.S. Department of Labor or the Florida Commission on Human Relations.

Morey began practicing law in Las Vegas, Nevada, before moving to Orlando in 1984. In 1986, he accepted an in-house opportunity with a diversified publisher, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, eventually becoming Lead Labor and Employment Counsel and Administrative Vice President of its wholly-owned subsidiary, Sea World. In 1990, Morey returned to private practice and has served in a myriad of roles, including as a shareholder and chair of the Labor and Employment Law Group at Lowndes from 1990—2012.


Rachel D. Gebaide is a member of the firm’s Executive Committee and chair of the Labor and Employment Law Group. She is an experienced employment litigator and adviser, counseling companies in the management of their human resources issues.

Rachel regularly represents employers in federal and state courts and before administrative agencies in defending against claims involving allegations of employment discrimination and violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), and other employment laws. She also defends discrimination claims arising under the Fair Housing Act.  

In addition to her litigation practice, Rachel drafts and reviews employee handbooks, employment agreements, non-competition agreements, separation agreements, and other personnel documents. She regularly advises clients regarding workplace issues and compliance with the FMLA, FLSA, WARN Act, the Affordable Care Act, and other employment laws. Rachel also has extensive experience in conducting independent investigations. 

A frequent speaker, Rachel often writes articles on developing issues in labor and employment law for client-focused publications, legal industry news outlets, and the firm’s employment law blog

Rachel is a member of the Labor and Employment Law Sections of the American Bar Association and the Federal Bar Association. She is also a member of the Orange County Bar Association, having served as Chair of the Labor and Employment Law Committee. Rachel is active in the Litigation and Employment Law Group of Meritas, a global alliance of independent law firms. 

She also serves as Executive Vice President of Congregation Ohev Shalom and Vice President, Legal of TOP Jewish Foundation. 

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