Quarantines and temporary school closures

Quarantines and temporary school closures
Posted on 03/30/2020
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FMLA, FFCRA and New DOL guidance on quarantines and temporary school closures due to COVID – 19 thru April 6, 2020


This letter addresses questions involving members use of FMLA and Department of Labor guidance. On March 12, 2020, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued new guidance outlining flexibilities that states have in administering their unemployment insurance programs during the COVID-19 outbreak. In addition, the new guidance affirms that an employee must be returned to their former position after the temporary school closure. Guidance to work placement and unemployment related question arising from the temporary school closure issued by USDOL, Unemployment Compensation (UC) for Individuals Affected by the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) https://wdr.doleta.gov/directives/attach/UIPL/UIPL_10-20.pdf


As for FMLA, if a member is currently on paid or unpaid FMLA, and is not performing any work from home, the days do not count against FMLA leave entitlement. If any work is performed at home, then any employees on FMLA leave would count against their FMLA leave entitlement. For example, if a teacher works half a day, then they would be charged half-day of FMLA leave.


As for FFCRA (Families First Coronavirus Response Act), these are temporary provisions through December 31, 2020 that provide additional relief to an employee who is unable to work because of a quarantine or a caring for a family member who is quarantined or to care for a child whose school or child care provider is closed due to COVID-19. https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-employee-paid-leave


The Union does have an opportunity to seek possible agreements from their District for compensation considerations for members during this time, though it is not mandated by FMLA directives. FMLA guidance, COVID-19 or Other Public Health Emergencies and the Family and Medical Leave Act Questions and Answers. https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/fmla/pandemic


However, beside the DOL guidance, members are assured of their compensation and position by the actions taken in Executive Orders issued by Governor Lujan Grisham and clarification memos of PED Secretary Stewart.


New Mexico Governor, Michelle Lujan Grisham, recently issued Executive Order 2020- 005, ORDER DIRECTING THE CLOSURE OF ALL PUBLIC SCHOOLS UNTIL APRIL

6, 2020  https://www.governor.state.nm.us/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Executive- Order-2020-005.pdf


In addition, the Public Education Department (PED) has released two memos: one titled Alternate Work Expectations for school Staff Members During Closure Period and one titled Questions Regarding Payment of Teachers, Staff, and Contractors During School Closure Due to COVID- 19, both dated March 13, 2020, which provide further guidance and clarification for School Districts and Charters regarding staff compensation and duties.


If you have any additional questions, please email NEA-NM President Mary Parr-Sanchez or your UniServ Director.



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