- Employees can take paid leave under the Family First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) to care for their children in instances where a child's summer camp or summer program has been shuttered due to the pandemic, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) said in a June 26 field assistance bulletin.
- The federal agency said a closed summer camp or program may be considered the place of care for an employee's child if the child was enrolled in the camp or program before the closure. It noted that "affirmative steps" short of actual enrollment may suffice to prove the summer program was intended to be a child's place of care.
- A summer camp or program qualifies as closed for the purpose of an employee qualifying for FFCRA leave if the camp or program is operating at a reduced capacity because of COVID-19, the agency said. For children who would have attended, the same analysis — actual enrollment or affirmative steps toward enrollment — applies.
The Labor Department said in the bulletin that "the expectation that employees take FFCRA leave based on planned summer enrollments is not different from the closing of other places of care such as a day care center." DOL says it is not adopting a one-size-fits all rule because of "the multitude of possible circumstances under which an employee may establish (1) a plan to send his or her child to a summer camp or program, or (2) that even though the employee had no such plan at the time the summer camp or program closed due to COVID-19, his or her child would have nevertheless attended the camp or program had it not closed."
If proof of a child's summer camp enrollment is not available, DOL provided several examples of ways that parents can prove a child's planned attendance in a summer program, such as:
- Proof of the submission of an application before the camp's closure.
- Proof of a paid deposit.
- Proof of prior attendance and current eligibility.
- Proof of being on a waitlist.
The agency also said that an employee who requests FFCRA leave must provide the employer information in support of the need for leave either orally or in writing. Such an explanation must include the reason for leave and a statement that the employee is unable to work because of that reason.