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In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve gathered some answers to frequently asked questions regarding family and medical leave as well as trucking HOS, ELD’s and rest stops for those truckers who are still on the road. We’ve also included hyperlinks for you to review if you require more in-depth information.
Which Employees Are Eligible To Take Family and Medical Leave?
According to the Department of Labor (DOL), if you or your employees are out with the flu or are caring for ill family members, you can check with the Department of Labor (DOL) for information on whether such leave is covered under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Under the FMLA, covered employers must provide employees job-protected, unpaid leave for specified family and medical reasons, which may include the flu where complications arise. Employees on FMLA leave are entitled to the continuation of group health insurance coverage under the same terms as existed before they took FMLA leave.
Employees are eligible to take FMLA leave if they work for a covered employer and:
- have worked for their employer for at least 12 months;
- have at least 1,250 hours of service over the previous 12 months; and
- work at a location where at least 50 employees are employed by the employer within 75 miles.
Does An Employer Have To Grant Leave To An Employee Who Is Sick or Who Is Caring For A Family Member That is Sick?
According the ATA’s review of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, the new legislation provides for two weeks of paid sick leave for employees who are:
- Unable to work or telework because they are subject to a COVID-19-related isolation order or recommendation from a health-care professional; are caring for such an individual.
- Are caring for children whose school or daycare is unavailable due to COVID-19 precautions.
- It also provides for up to 12 weeks of paid family leave for employees who have been employed for at least 30 days, and who are unable to work or telework because they are caring for such children.
Key Changes on Regulations From The FMCSA
Is a driver required to take a 30-minute break?
No, none of the hours of service regulations apply while the driver is engaged with providing direct assistance under the emergency relief exemption.
How do the hours a driver worked under the emergency exemption impact the 60/70-hour rule when the driver goes back to normal operations?
The hours worked providing direct assistance under the emergency relief exemption do not count toward the 60/70- hour rule.
Is a 34-hour restart required after providing direct assistance under the emergency declaration?
No, however, upon completion of the direct assistance and prior to returning to normal operations, the driver is required to meet the requirements of §§ 395.3(a) and (c) and 395.5(a), which include, for example, the requirement to take 10 hours off duty (8 hours for passenger carriers) and to comply with the on-duty limit of 60/70 hours in 7/8 days before returning to driving.
Is the driver required to use a paper logbook or ELD?
No, the emergency exemption includes relief from all the hours-of service regulations in 49 CFR part 395, including the record keeping requirements (i.e., records of duty status (RODS)).
Does FMCSA have preemptive authority over states that decide/attempt to close highway rest stops?
No, however FMCSA is working closely with the States to ensure adequate truck parking and facilities are available. NATSO, previously the National Association of Truck Stop Operators and also the association that represents the travel plaza and truck stop industry in America, has confirmed that its members will work to remain open and continue to serve all drivers during the fight against COVID-19.
What is the FMCSA’s stance on expired CDL’s and medical cards?
The FMCSA will not take enforcement action for certain expired commercial driver licenses, learner permits and medical certifications through June 30.
Check back with the Thunder Funding blog for additional information on COVID-19 and its impact on our nation's truck drivers.