By Pension and Benefits Editorial Staff
With school and summer activity schedules greatly altered as America continues to re-open in the wake of the coronavirus, the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division on June 26 issued Field Assistance Bulletin (FAB) 2020-4 to address school and camp or summer program closures—and what they mean. The FAB addresses how to determine paid sick or expanded family and medical leave eligibility under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) based on the closure of summer camps, summer enrichment programs, or other summer programs.
When are summer camps or other programs "closed" for leave purposes? FAB 2020-4 provides guidance on when an employee qualifies to take paid leave under the FFCRA to care for his or her child based on the closure of a summer camp, summer enrichment program, or other summer program for coronavirus-related reasons.
Many summer camps and programs were closed in response to COVID-19 before any children began to attend and, in some cases, before they began to enroll. Thus, unlike schools and day care centers, such camps and programs therefore would not have been places of care of any child at the time they closed. Accordingly, determining whether a camp or program is the place of care of an employee’s child may be confusing.
What would have been the plan. Generally, an employee who requests leave to care for his or her child based on the closure of a summer camp, summer enrichment program, or other summer program should provide the name of the child, the name of the specific summer camp or program that would have been the place of care for the child had it not closed, and a statement that no other suitable person is available to care for the child (29 C.F.R. § 826.100(e)(2)). This requirement to name a specific summer camp or program may be satisfied if the child, for example, applied to or was enrolled in the summer camp or program before it closed, or if the child attended the camp or program in prior summers and was eligible to attend again, among other potential circumstances.
A child who, for example, only recently met the age requirement for a summer camp could not have attended the camp in prior years. The same would be true of a child who recently moved from an area not serviced by the summer camp that the child planned to attend this summer, or of a child whose parents had not yet made summer arrangements at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic and delayed doing so due to uncertainty surrounding summer camps’ and programs’ operations. In such circumstances, there may nonetheless be indicators that a particular camp or program would have been the child’s place of care this summer, for example, by being accepted to a waitlist pending the reopening of the camp or program or the reopening of its registration process.
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