The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFRCA”) goes into effect in the U.S. Virgin Islands and the entire nation today, April 1st, to Dec. 31, 2020. The FFCRA provides for paid sick leave and paid FMLA leave for employees of covered employers that have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. For further details on the FFRCA provisions please see (insert link to first article).
The US Dept. of Labor issued a bulletin, FIELD ASSISTANCE BULLETIN NO. 2020-1 declaring a temporary non-enforcement period for the FFRCA from March 18 to April 17, 2020. This period of non-enforcement will allow covered employers to come into compliance with the FFRCA and enforcement actions will not be brought during this period if covered employers have acted reasonably and in good faith to comply with the law. Acting reasonably and in good faith requires the following facts:
1. The employer remedies any violations and makes all employees whole;
2. The violations of the Act were not “willful” based on the criteria set forth in McLaughlin v. Richland Shoe, 486 U.S. 128, 133 (1988) (the employer “either knew or showed reckless disregard for the matter of whether its conduct was prohibited…”); and
3. The Department receives a written commitment from the employer to comply with the Act in the future.
If the public or private employer either (i) violates the FFCRA willfully, (ii) fails to provide a written commitment for future compliance with the FFCRA, or (iii) fails to remedy the violation upon notification by Department, the employee seeking payment, or a representative of that employee, including by making all affected employees whole as soon as practicable, the Department reserves its right to exercise its enforcement authority. This stay will be lifted after April 17, 2020, and the Department of Labor will fully enforce violations of the FFCRA, as appropriate and consistent with the law.
If you have any further questions about the FFCRA and how it will apply to your Virgin Islands business, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ravinder S. Nagi is Assistant Managing Attorney and Chair of the Labor and Employment Practice Group at BoltNagi PC, a full-service business law firm on St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands.