On June 26th, 2020, the Department of Labor (DOL) released a Field Assistance Bulletin, which provides guidance to investigators for the Wage and Hour Division (WHD), addressing the closure of summer camps concerning the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). While it has long been clear that the DOL would consider summer camps an eligible child care provider for FFCRA leave purposes, questions remained on how to substantiate such leave requests.
FFCRA provides paid sick leave and paid family leave for employees who are unable to work, or telework, due to a need to care for their child whose school or place of care is closed or unavailable due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The DOL has defined a place of care as a “physical location in which care is provided for the employee’s child while the employees work.” The DOL has confirmed that summer camps and summer enrichment programs meet these criteria. A summer program is considered closed if it is shut down in its entirety or partially closed for reasons of COVID-19 and operating at a reduced capacity that means children who would have attended are no longer able to do so.
Employees who wish to request leave to care for a child whose summer program has been canceled should be prepared to provide their employer with the same information required for FFCRA leave requests due to school closures. This information includes:
- Employee’s name
- The date(s) for which leave is requested
- The name and age of the child(ren)
- The name of the school or place of care that has closed or unavailable
- Confirmation that no other qualified person is available to provide care for the child during those periods
- A statement that the employee is unable to work or telework for this reason and explain special circumstances if the child is over age 14 and needs care during daylight hours.
In addition to this information, there is specific substantiating documentation that is required for summer programs. If a summer program is closed, there must be evidence of intent that the child was going to attend the summer program. The DOL has stated that any of the following examples are considered valid evidence that the summer program would be the child’s place of care:
- Proof that the child attended that specific camp in either 2018 or 2019 and was eligible to attend again in 2020
- Proof of a deposit paid to the camp
- Proof of submission of an application before the camp’s closure
- Proof that child is on a waiting list for that specific camp
The DOL notes explicitly that a parent’s “mere interest” in a camp or program is generally not enough evidence that the program was to be the child’s place of care. Additionally, the DOL noted that attending such a program in the summer of 2017 is not evidence that the program would serve as the place of care.
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As always, your Aldrich Benefits team is here to provide support for you however we can during these rapidly changing times. For further information, please contact your advisor. For more employer resources to help you navigate impacts on your business, visit our COVID-19 Resource Center.
The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available on this site are only for general informational purposes. Readers of this website should contact their attorney to obtain advice concerning any particular legal matter.
Meet the Author
Employee Benefits Consultant
Aldrich Benefits LP
Evan Cole partners with his clients to advise and assist them with their employee benefit plans, specializing in group and association plans. Prior to joining Aldrich, Evan was a top producing employee benefits representative for one of the nation’s largest life, disability, and dental carriers. He holds licenses for life and health in the states…
- Employee benefits
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