DOL Issues Bulletin on FFCRA Leave for Closure of Summer Camps and Programs
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) requires covered employers to provide eligible employees with up to twelve weeks of childcare leave when the employee is unable to work or telework due to a need to care for a child whose school or place of care is closed due to COVID-19 related reasons. With the conclusion of the school year, the Department of Labor (DOL) has issued a Field Assistance Bulletin clarifying when eligible employees may take leave under FFCRA for the closure of their child’s summer camps, enrichment programs, and other summer programs.
When the pandemic began, determining whether a school closed due to COVID-19 related reasons was fairly straightforward. It is more difficult to assess summer camps and programs because many of these childcare options were closed before enrollment began. For purposes of FFCRA leave, “closed” may include summer camps and programs operating at reduced capacity due to COVID-19. There is no one-size-fits-all rule to qualify for leave.
Employees requesting childcare leave under FCCRA must provide either orally or in writing the following information:
- Explanation of the need for leave and a statement that the employee is unable to work due to that need;
- Name of child;
- Name of school, childcare provider, or specific summer camp or program that would have been the place of care for the child had it not closed;
- A statement that no other suitable person is available to care for the child.
The requirement to name a specific summer camp or program may be satisfied if the employee provides information to support the following:
- The child applied to or was enrolled in a summer camp or program before it closed due to COVID-19; or
- The child attended a camp or program in prior summers and was eligible to participate in again; or
- Other similar circumstances to show an actual or planned enrollment in a camp or program.
The guidance clearly shows that a parent’s mere interest in a summer camp or program is generally not enough.
Employers deciding whether to grant childcare leave to employees for summer camp and program closures should consider whether it is “more likely than not” the child would have attended the summer camp or program had it not closed due to COVID-19.