With the July Fourth holiday around the corner, summer is in full swing. Better late than never, the U.S. Department of Labor has issued advice on the impact of summer camp and other program closings on employees’ eligibility for paid child care leave under Families First Coronavirus Response Act. This measure was passed in March in reaction to school closings throughout the U.S. during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. With the school year ended, employers asked DOL about employees’ entitlement to continuing pay based on cancellation of summer programs.
In a new field assistance bulletin, DOL says that in order to qualify for the paid benefit, employees must identify the closed camp or program. They must also provide the employer with reasonable information indicating (1) that the child was already enrolled or would have been enrolled had the program remained open, and (2) that the employee has no other available child care options. The employee does not have to prove that the child was enrolled in the program pre-cancellation, only that they would have attended based on past attendance, age qualification, etc.
In a separate bulletin, DOL addressed the definition of school sessions for child labor purposes. Child labor laws permit certain minors to work extended hours when school is not in session. For purposes of these laws, schools that are physically closed due to COVID-19 will be deemed to remain in session if students continue to participate in virtual or remote learning. This includes any mandatory summer sessions or school years that begin at an earlier date due to prior closures. If virtual or remote learning is in session, minors cannot work extended hours.