HR Tip: New York federal court decision overturning provisions of FFCRA creates uncertainty for employers

Shortly after the regulations for the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) were issued, the State of New York sued the DOL, claiming that the agency unlawfully denied leave to otherwise eligible employees and exceeded their statutory authority in drafting the final regulations. The court decision, issued on August 3, invalidated four of the regulations:

  • The DOL’s requirement that FFCRA leave is available only when there is work available and employees can be denied leave under certain circumstances if there is no work available
  • The definition of healthcare providers under a provision that excludes healthcare providers from having to provide leave benefits is too broad
  • The requirement that employees obtain consent from the employer for intermittent leave for certain reasons
  • The requirement that documentation supporting the need for FFCRA leave is required before an employee takes FFCRA leave

While the decision clearly applies to employers within the court’s jurisdiction (Manhattan and the Bronx in New York City and Westchester, Rockland, Putnam, Orange, Dutchess, and Sullivan counties in New York state), its applicability elsewhere, particularly in other states, is unclear. In light of this ruling, the DOL has issued revised regulations. The revised rule clarifies workers’ rights and employers’ responsibilities regarding FFCRA paid leave.