Summer is here, and employers and employees are now facing the issue of summer camp closures. 
On Friday, the U.S. Department of Labor, Wage & Hour Division (WHD) clarified its enforcement position in Field Assistance Bulletin No. 2020-4 (FAB), confirming that eligible employees may take paid leave under the federal Families First Coronavirus Relief Act (FFCRA), if their minor children's summer camps or other programs are closed. The DOL Bulletin also provides eligibility guidance and documentation requirements for such leave.
As we blogged about here, employees can take leave to care for a child whose school or place of childcare closes, or whose childcare provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19, under both the FFCRA Sick and emergency FMLA entitlements (2 weeks of FFCRA Sick plus an additional 10 weeks of emergency FMLA, all of which counts against the employee's 12 workweeks of FMLA).  The DOL regulations have already specified that a "place of childcare" can include summer camps and summer enrichment programs. 
Now, the DOL addresses the scenario where children never began attending summer camps or summer care facilities due to preemptive closures or cancellations. When the child had not yet been enrolled in the camp, the DOL explains that if there was a documented plan for the child to attend the camp or summer care, then the employee is entitled to take FFCRA leave.
The DOL emphasizes that there is no "one-size-fits-all" assessment regarding whether someone is entitled to FFCRA leave. However, the DOL clarifies that the employee's mere interest in a particular summer camp is insufficient to determine they had a plan to send their child to a certain summer care facility. Also, the fact that employees may feel uncomfortable about sending their children to summer camp does not trigger FFCRA leave.
So what should employers ask employees to provide in writing to support the FFCRA request (and the employer's tax credit)?
  • The reasons for the requested leave;
  • Name of the child (or children) and care facility or camp that the child would have attended but for the closure;
  • A signed statement that no other suitable person, camp or childcare provider is available to care for the child;
  • The age of the child or children at issue;
  • If the child is over 14, the special circumstances requiring care during daylight hours; and
  • Supporting documentation proving the intended camp or childcare is closed due to COVID-19. For example:
    • A camp registration confirmation email and an email or letter notifying parents that the camp is cancelled.
    • A daycare invoice or registration confirmation and an email, document, or webpage stating the childcare is closed for the summer due to COVID-19.
    • A signed letter from a home childcare provider that he or she can no longer provide in-home nanny or babysitting services due to COVID-19.  
Still have questions about FFCRA leave entitlement or need a FFCRA Certification Form?  Don't worry - we are here to help!
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