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Apparently, a new coronavirus related paid family leave law takes effect on 04/01/2020. I understand that, among commercial companies, it applies only to those under 500 employees (because, of course, companies that can afford lobbying cannot be burdened, but that's unrelated to the question.) The questions I have regarding that law:

1) Does the new extended leave law apply to federal employees? More specifically, my wife works for Veterans' Affairs, and we'd like to figure out whether she qualifies. On one hand, VA has more than 500 employees, but on the other hand, VA is not a commercial company, and I don't see in the reports specifics regarding the government employees.

2) Would a mother of small children qualify for paid family leave to watch them while the schools are closed? This has become quite an issue as soon as the schools closed for the year.

  • For what it's worth, the last I heard was that agencies were waiting for OPM guidance. – cpast Mar 30 at 14:04
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The Department of Labor has a page about the law. Some excerpts (boldface mine):

Most employees of the federal government are covered by Title II of the Family and Medical Leave Act, which was not amended by this Act, and are therefore not covered by the expanded family and medical leave provisions of the FFCRA. However, federal employees covered by Title II of the Family and Medical Leave Act are covered by the paid sick leave provision.

And as to your Question 2:

Generally, the Act provides that employees of covered employers are eligible for:

Two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick leave at two-thirds the employee’s regular rate of pay because the employee is unable to work because of a bona fide need to care for an individual subject to quarantine (pursuant to Federal, State, or local government order or advice of a health care provider), or to care for a child (under 18 years of age) whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19, and/or the employee is experiencing a substantially similar condition as specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the Secretaries of the Treasury and Labor; and

Up to an additional 10 weeks of paid expanded family and medical leave at two-thirds the employee’s regular rate of pay where an employee, who has been employed for at least 30 calendar days, is unable to work due to a bona fide need for leave to care for a child whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19.

(This page was quite easy to find, just by searching Google for the title of the law...)

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  • Thanks, Nate. Just one more question. I understand that your answer to the 2nd question is based on FFCRA, which is not applicable to federal employees. Now, based on Title II of FMLA, do federal employees qualify for the leave "to care for a child (under 18 years of age) whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable", similarly to what private employees are entitled to? I see a "In order to care for the spouse, or a son, daughter, or parent, of the employee, if such spouse, son, daughter, or parent has a serious health condition" clause, but nothing about school closures... – Michael Mar 30 at 17:44

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