by Christine Self
The opening of the 2020-2021 school year looks very different than previous school years for many school districts, students, and families. While some school districts are starting the school year fully in-person, others are opting for a fully virtual return to school, offering a hybrid schedule, or offering options for families to choose between some combination of those. As schools reopen in these varied formats, parents may be requesting leave from their employers under the Families First Coronavirus Relief Act (FFCRA) or other available leave through their employer based on their child’s school attendance schedule. To address leave questions that may arise due to school scheduling formats, the U.S. Department of Labor recently updated its FFCRA Questions and Answers.
The determination of availability of paid leave under the FFCRA for employees based on the status of a child’s school primarily depends on whether the school is open for student attendance. Under a hybrid attendance model where students may be attending on alternating days, on the days the child is not scheduled to attend in-person, the school is effectively closed to that student. Therefore, an eligible employee may take paid leave under the FFCRA for those days when the student is remote learning ““ as long as the employee needs leave to actually care for the child and no other suitable person is available to do so. If the school provided a choice between in-person attendance and remote learning and the parent chose remote learning, paid leave under the FFCRA is not available because the school is open for in-person attendance and leave is only available when the school is closed. If the school is operating on a remote learning basis only, paid leave under the FFCRA is available to eligible employees because the school is closed for student attendance.
The updated U.S. Department of Labor Questions and Answers can be viewed here.
Illinois Education – Tueth Keeney is proud to be one of the state’s largest Illinois education law practices. The firm has one of the most experienced groups of attorneys in Central and Southern Illinois dedicated to serving public schools. We regularly represent nearly 150 public school districts, including many districts in Central and Southern Illinois. Our Firm is also regularly appointed by insurers of educational institutions to represent districts in complex or difficult cases involving school or civil rights laws.
Missouri Education – The law firm of Tueth Keeney Cooper Mohan & Jackstadt, P.C. (the “Firm”), has one of the largest and most successful education law groups in the country. The Firm regularly serves the legal counsel needs of approximately 150 school districts throughout Missouri. The Firm also has one of the largest school law practices in Central and Southern Illinois.
Christine Self practices in the areas of education law and employment law. She has developed employment policies and advised public employers on labor matters and laws such as the Freedom of Information Act and the Illinois Open Meetings Act. She has experience with collective bargaining and disciplinary investigations into employee misconduct. As a former public school teacher, she is committed to assisting schools navigate the legal requirements of the education environment so school leaders and educators can provide the best educational opportunities for students.