To keep our clients informed of changes to the employment laws and regulations, Stock and Leader is providing this summary of some of the employment-related provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which become effective April 1, 2020.
EMERGENCY PAID SICK LEAVE ACT
The FFCRA mandates that employers with fewer than 500 employees provide sick leave to employees affected by COVID-19 as follows:
- Paid sick leave must be granted by the employer when:
- a. The employee is subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID–19.
- b. The employee has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID–19.
- c. The employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID–19 and seeking a medical diagnosis.
- d. The employee is caring for an individual who is subject to an order as described in subparagraph (1) or has been advised as described in paragraph (2).
- e. The employee is caring for a son or daughter of such employee if the school or place of care of the son or daughter has been closed, or the child care provider of such son or daughter is unavailable, due to COVID–19 precautions.
- f. The employee is experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of Labor.
- Maximum Rate of Pay:
- a. For 1. a, b, and c above, the paid sick leave is calculated at the employee’s regular rate of pay, capped at $511.00 per day and a maximum of $5110.00 in the aggregate.
- b. For 1. d, e, and f above, the pay shall be 2/3s of the employee’s regular rate of pay, with the maximum pay of $200 per day and $2,000 in the aggregate.
- The amount of hours of paid sick time to which an employee is entitled shall be as follows:
- a. For full-time employees, 80 hours.
- b. For part-time employees, a number of hours equal to the number of hours that such employee works, on average, over a 2-week period.
- c. The employer may not require an employee to use other paid leave before using the sick time provided under the FFCRA.
- d. Paid sick leave must be provided in addition to other paid leave an employer provides.
EMERGENCY FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE EXPANSION ACT
The FFCRA expands leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act.
- Expanded leave entitlement.
- a. Qualified employees are entitled to 12 weeks of FMLA leave due to a “qualifying need related to a public health emergency.”
- The employee threshold is changed for requests for leave related to a qualifying need.
- a. The leave requirement applies to all employers with fewer than 500 employees.
- b. The Secretary of Labor may exempt small businesses with fewer than 50 employees when the imposition of such requirements would jeopardize the viability of the business.
- The definition of qualified employee is expanded.
- a. For purposes of FMLA leave under the FFCRA, a qualified employee is one who has been employed for at least 30 calendar days by the employer.
- b. This change does not apply to other forms of leave under the FMLA, which require that an employee be employed for 12 months and have worked 1250 hours.
- Leave is granted for a “qualifying need related to a public health emergency.”
- a. The term “qualifying need related to a public health emergency” means the employee is unable to work (or telework) due to a need for leave:
- to care for the son or daughter under 18 years of age of such employee
- if the school or place of care has been closed, or
- the child care provider of such son or daughter is unavailable, and
- due to an emergency declared by the federal/state/local authority related to COVD-19.
- b. Note that no illness is required in order to utilize this leave.
- Paid and unpaid leave provisions:
- a. The first 10 days for which an employee takes leave may consist of unpaid leave, but the employee may decide to use paid sick leave as provided for in the FFCRA, paid vacation leave, employer-provided paid sick leave, or personal leave during this period as may be applicable
- b. The leave for subsequent days is paid leave at 2/3s of the regular rate of pay, not to exceed $200 per day and $10,000 in the aggregate.
- c. An Employer tax credit is available for paid leave.
Employers should contact their employment attorney with questions or concerns regarding implementation of the new requirements.