In the article “School Closings Shaping Up As Next Headache For Employers,” Law360 turned to Labor & Employment partner Dan Prokott for insight on how school-reopening plans will affect employers. Prokott also provided guidance on how employers can accommodate working parents if schools are closed.
The legal industry publication highlighted that while the debate over the proper way to reopen schools amid the rising tide of coronavirus infections continues, employers are bracing for the possibility that working parents will regularly be absent because they have nowhere to safely send their kids.
Prokott explained that the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) may look different in the fall than it did in the spring since there may be more child care options available if schools are closed. But, he noted employers nonetheless "have to be thinking about the ability to provide extra leave, even if not mandated by law," including options like unpaid leave as well as reduced schedules or reduced pay, which should all be on the table if a person's leave allotment has been exhausted.
"Policymakers I think at state and local governments and the federal government are going to have to be considering what additional laws may need to be passed to address the fact that there may be employees who need longer leave and whether or not they're going to leave it up to employers to decide under the current framework or create additional protection for employees," Prokott added.