On March 28th, the Department of Labor (“DOL”) expanded the definition of “healthcare provider” for the purpose of determining who is exempt from the leave mandates set forth in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”).

The FFCRA exempts employers from the requirement to provide “health care providers” “paid sick time” and “public health emergency leave.”  Upon the FFCRA’s original passage it was understood that the term “health care providers” was limited to the FMLA’s definition of the term as only including physicians, nurse practitioners, or other health care providers such as podiatrists, dentists, midwives, etc.

New guidance from the DOL greatly expands this definition to include the following:

  • 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 any permanent or temporary institution, facility, location, or site where medical services are provided that are similar to such institutions. 
  • Any individual employed by an entity that contracts with any of the above institutions, employers, or entities institutions to provide services or to maintain the operation of the facility.
  • Anyone employed by any 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.
  • Any individual that the highest official of a state or territory, including the District of Columbia, determines is a health care provider necessary for that state’s or territory’s or the District of Columbia’s response to COVID-19.

To minimize the spread of the virus associated with COVID-19, the DOL encouraged employers to be judicious when using this definition to exempt health care providers from the “public health emergency leave” and “paid sick time” provisions of the FFCRA.  Additionally, employers with less than fifty (50) employees can be exempt from the requirement to provide this leave if it would jeopardize the viability of the business.

For more information, please contact labor and employment attorney Anne Chapman at achapman@blalockwalters.com or health care attorney Ann Breitinger at abreitinger@blalockwalters.com.


Ann Breitinger

Ann K. Breitinger, Esq.
Health Care, Business and Corporate and Law

Anne W. Chapman, Esq.
Labor and Employment, Business Litigation

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