Question:

How does the FFCRA define emergency workers or healthcare providers?

Answer:

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) allows — but does not require — employers to deny leaves under the FFCRA to employees who are healthcare providers or emergency responders on a case-by-case basis. To minimize the spread of the virus associated with COVID-19, the Department of Labor encourages employers to be judicious when exempting employees from the provisions of the FFCRA.

The FFCRA defines healthcare workers as anyone employed at any doctor’s office, hospital, health care center, clinic, post-secondary educational institution offering health care instruction, medical school, local health department or agency, nursing facility, retirement facility, nursing home, home health care provider, any facility that performs laboratory or medical testing, pharmacy, or any similar institution, employer, or entity.

This includes employees of an entity that contracts with any of the above to provide services or to maintain the operation of the facility. This also includes employees of an entity that provides medical services, produces medical products, or is otherwise involved in the making of COVID-19 related medical equipment, tests, drugs, vaccines, diagnostic vehicles, or treatments, and any employee that the highest official of a state (or the District of Columbia) determines is an emergency responder necessary for the response to COVID-19.

An emergency responder is an employee who is necessary for the provision of transport, care, health care, comfort, and nutrition of such patients, or whose services are otherwise needed to limit the spread of COVID-19. This includes but is not limited to military or national guard, law enforcement officers, correctional institution personnel, fire fighters, emergency medical services personnel, physicians, nurses, public health personnel, emergency medical technicians, paramedics, emergency management personnel, 911 operators, child welfare workers and service providers, public works personnel, and people with skills or training in operating specialized equipment or other skills needed to provide aid in a declared emergency as well as individuals who work for such facilities employing these workers and whose work is necessary to maintain the operation of the facility. This also includes any employee that the highest official of a state (or the District of Columbia) determines is an emergency responder necessary for the response to COVID-19.

To minimize the spread of the virus associated with COVID-19, the Department of Labor encourages employers to be judicious when using these definitions to exempt employees from the provisions of the FFCRA.