With the new school year upon us, many parents are faced with new child care concerns due to the continued risk of COVID-19. For some, online school is the only option while for others in-person attendance may be periodic or voluntary.

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) created a new classification of paid FMLA — FMLA+ — that expands FMLA protections to employees who have been employed for at least 30 days and who work for employers with fewer than 500 employees (or any governmental employer).

The chart below outlines when FMLA+ may apply under different school scenarios relating to in-person or remote learning via online study:


School Scenario Does FMLA+ apply?
Online Study Only
School offers ONLY remote learning via online study (no in school study).
When a child’s school offers ONLY online study, an employee may take FMLA+ during that period to care for an eligible child.
Limited In-Person Study
School offers limited in-person study with remaining study via remote learning.
When a child’s school offers partial in-person and partial online study, an employee may take FMLA+ on the day an eligible child is not attending school for in-person study.
Voluntary Election
School offers parents the option of either sending children to schools for in-person study or staying home for online study.
When the schools gives the parent an option between in-person and online study, the school is not technically close. The employee would be ineligible to take FMLA+ because the child could attend school in person.
Hybrid Voluntary
School offers parents the option between in-school and online study, but the in-school option is limited to specific days.
For the days that the parent elects not to send the child to school when in-person study is available, FMLA+ is not available because the school is considered open. However, the remaining days during which the child is offered only online study, FMLA+ is available.


[SOURCE: Lockton]