SUMMER PANDEMIC PAY « Law Offices of Timothy Bowles | Top Employment Law Firm in Los Angeles


FFCRA Paid Leave Eligibility for Youth Program Closure

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) provides emergency paid sick leave and additional paid family leave for a worker who must care for his/her child due to  COVID-19-related school or other “place of care” closures. Would a summer camp closure qualify? Perhaps.

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL)’s FAQs guidance provides that a closed summer camp or program may be considered a place of care for an employee’s child if the child was enrolled before the summer program announced its closure:

Question 93: “I took paid sick leave and am now taking expanded family and medical leave to care for my children whose school is closed for a COVID-19 related reason. After completing distance learning, the children’s school closed for summer vacation. May I take paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave to care for my children because their school is closed for summer vacation?

“Answer: No. Paid sick leave and emergency family and medical leave are not available for this qualifying reason if the school or child care provider is closed for summer vacation, or any other reason that is not related to COVID-19. However, the employee may be able to take leave if his or her child’s care provider during the summer—a camp or other programs in which the employee’s child is enrolled—is closed or unavailable for a COVID-19 related reason.”

However, with the pandemic’s continuing uncertainties, many summer camps and programs announced closure this year prior to a family’s opportunity to enroll. In a further June 26 guidance, the DOL has confirmed  that a parent’s mere interest in a camp or program is generally insufficient to qualify for such paid leaves. However, formal enrollment before a closure announcement is not strictly required. While there is no one-size-fits-all guide for eligibility, the guidance states that qualification will turn on whether the child would have attended the summer camp/program had it not closed due to COVID-19. Indicators of that intent may include:

  • Submission of an application and/or deposit prior to the summer program’s closure
  • Recent prior attendance and current eligibility; or
  • Being accepted to a waitlist pending reopening of the summer program or the reopening of its registration process

Covered employers should proceed with caution before denying an employee’s request to use FFCRA leave due to the closure of a child’s summer program, consulting with experienced employment counsel as needed.

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For more information, please contact Tim BowlesCindy Bamforth or Helena Kobrin.

Cindy Bamforth

July 9, 2020