Labor Department releases fact sheets for Families First Coronavirus Response Act 

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division on Tuesday announced its first round of published guidance to provide information to employees and employers about how each will be able to take advantage of the protections and relief offered by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) when it takes effect on April 1. The FFCRA will provide businesses with fewer than 500 employees funds to provide employees with paid leave, either for the employee’s own health needs or to care for family members. The guidance – provided in a Fact Sheet for Employees, a Fact Sheet for Employers and a Questions and Answers document – addresses critical questions, such as how an employer must count the number of their employees to determine coverage; how small businesses can obtain an exemption; how to count hours for part-time employees; and how to calculate the wages employees are entitled to under this law. The department said updates will be provided on a rolling basis. Locally, workplace benefits expert David Lind provides some insights in his blog about how some Central Iowa organizations have been preparing for the FFCRA provisions so far. 

The 2020 Downtown Farmers’ Market is postponing its season opening to a yet-to-be-determined date after large-gathering restrictions are lifted by local, state and federal officials. 

Volunteer Iowa launched a COVID-19 Response Initiative to connect healthy individuals with urgent volunteer needs in their communities, and to serve as a portal for organizations to post their volunteer needs. Opportunities can be found through Volunteer Iowa’s Get Connect site online. Individuals can also help by donating to their local food bank, delivering meals, supporting local nonprofits and donating blood.