COVID-19 and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)
July 29, 2020
The “Families First Coronavirus Response Act” (FFCRA) went into effect on April 1, 2020. This new federal law has several new requirements employers need to navigate. The legislation provides appropriations for federal programs and includes temporary provisions for both paid and unpaid sick leave to employees who are unable to work due to COVID-19. The FFCRA requires both private and public employers with fewer than 500 employees to provide paid sick leave and expanded FMLA leave.
Two pieces within the legislation are Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA) which requires qualifying employers to provide paid sick leave; and, the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLA) which provides extended family leave. Both pieces of the FFCRA expire on December 31, 2020
Under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA) under the FFCRA, qualifying employers must provide two weeks of paid sick leave, with full-time employees receiving eighty hours and part-time employees receiving the equivalent of their average hours worked every two weeks
An employee qualifies for this paid sick leave if he or she is unable to work because he or she:
- Is subject to a quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19;
- Has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine related to COVID-19;
- Is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and is seeking a medical diagnosis;
- Is caring for an individual subject to a quarantine or isolation order or who has been advised to self-quarantine by a healthcare provider;
- Is caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed (or child care provider is unavailable) for reasons related to COVID-19; or
- Is experiencing any other substantially-similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services.
An employee who is quarantined, isolated, or being treated for COVID-19 exposure or symptoms is entitled to two weeks of paid leave at full pay with a daily maximum of $511 (for a total maximum of $5,110).
An employee who is caring for a quarantined or sick family member or who is caring for a child due to school or daycare closure is entitled to two weeks of paid leave at the greater of 2/3 one’s usual rate of pay or minimum wage.
Under the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLA) under the FFCRA, employees, who have been employed for at least 30 days, are eligible for up to an additional 10 weeks of family leave (beyond the two weeks of paid sick leave described above) if they are unable to work because they need to care for a child whose school or place of care is closed for reasons related to COVID-19. Those employees are entitled to 2/3 of their regular rate of pay or 2/3 the applicable minimum wage (whichever is higher) up to $200 a day (for a total maximum of $10,000).
A few additional items to note:
Employers subject to the FFCRA must either email this notice to employees; must post it on an employee information website, or must post a notice of these requirements prepared or approved by the Department of Labor “in conspicuous places on the premises of the employer where notices to employees are customarily posted.”
Small businesses with fewer than 50 employees may qualify for an exemption from the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLA) requirements if adhering to the leave requirements would jeopardize the viability of the ongoing business.
Employers of health care providers or emergency responders may exclude employees from the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLA) leave requirements.
Our team is available and ready to answer any questions you have about the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and its requirements. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.