In March, Congress passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). This law provides emergency paid leave to employees in two coronavirus-related circumstances: Sick leave and expanded FMLA leave. Generally, the law applies to private employers with fewer than 500 employees and applies to leave taken between April 1, 2020, and December 31, 2020. The law also has posting/notification requirements for employers. (Find links to related documents and Frequently Asked Questions below.)
We’re providing this information as an alert to agency members. We provide links and resources to the Department of Labor and links to interpretations from employment law experts. We’ve excerpted some of the key provision from the Department of Labor handout outlining the major provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) below. For any questions you may have, please read the DOL source documents we’ve provided and consult with your employment law attorney for further clarification. Also, remember to check with your respective state for any state-specific leave laws that may apply.
Generally, the Act provides that covered employers must provide to all employees:
Two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick leave at the employee’s regular rate of pay where the employee is unable to work because the employee is quarantined (pursuant to Federal, State, or local government order or advice of a health care provider), and/or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis; or
Two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick leave at two-thirds the employee’s regular rate of pay because the employee is unable to work because of a bona fide need to care for an individual subject to quarantine (pursuant to Federal, State, or local government order or advice of a health care provider), or care for a child (under 18 years of age) whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19, and/or the employee is experiencing a substantially similar condition as specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the Secretaries of the Treasury and Labor.
A covered employer must provide to employees that it has employed for at least 30 days
Up to an additional 10 weeks of paid expanded family and medical leave at two-thirds the employee’s regular rate of pay where an employee is unable to work due to a bona fide need for leave to care for a child whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19.
DOL says: “Covered employers qualify for dollar-for-dollar reimbursement through tax credits for all qualifying wages paid under the FFCRA. Qualifying wages are those paid to an employee who takes leave under the Act for a qualifying reason, up to the appropriate per diem and aggregate payment caps. Applicable tax credits also extend to amounts paid or incurred to maintain health insurance coverage. For more information, please see the Department of the Treasury’s website.”
Employer Posting / Notification requirements:
According to the DOL: “Each covered employer must post a notice of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) requirements in a conspicuous place on its premises. An employer may satisfy this requirement by emailing or direct mailing this notice to employees, or posting this notice on an employee information internal or external website.” Copy of the required posting notice: Employee Rights: Paid Sick Leave and Expanded Family and Medical Leave under The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)
Additional resources from the DOL:
- H.R.6201 – Families First Coronavirus Response Act
- COVID-19 and the American Workplace
- Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Employer Paid Leave Requirements
- Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Employee Paid Leave Rights (PDF)
- Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Questions and Answers
- Posting/Notice requirements Frequently Asked Questions
Employment Law & HR resources
- Nutter McClennen & Fish: President Trump Signs the Families First Coronavirus Response Act
- Nutter McClennen & Fish: COVID-19: Practical Guidance for Employers Webinar
- Nutter McClennen & Fish: The DOL’s Temporary Rule About FFCRA Paid Leave Provides More Guidance
- Mirick & O’Connell: PODCAST: Brian Casaceli discusses EFMLA and FFCRA (4.1.20)
- Littler: Senate Approves Paid Sick Leave, Family Medical Leave Expansion; Bill Expected to Become Law
- Littler: DOL Releases Regulations Implementing the Families First Coronavirus Response Act
- FMLA Insights: DOL Publishes Initial Guidance on How to Implement Emergency Paid Sick and Paid FMLA Leave
Erin Holt, PHR, Vice President, Human Resources. Connect with Erin on LinkedIn.
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