On March 18, 2020, the Senate passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which President Trump signed last night and will become effective April 2, 2020. The below is a general summary and is not intended to be entirely comprehensive.
The following is a brief overview of the Act:
- Expanded Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) Leave
- Applies to all companies with less than 500 employees. The Secretary of Labor has the ability to exempt small businesses of less than 50 employees if the required leave would jeopardize the viability of the business. This last portion remains uncertain at this time.
- Employee must have worked for the company for at least 30 days.
- Twelve weeks of job-protected leave for a worker that cannot work or telework because the employee has to care for a child if the child’s school or childcare facility is closed. This is the only qualifying reason.
- First ten days may be unpaid, then must pay 2/3 of the regular rate for hours normally scheduled to work (maximum $200 per day and $10,000 total for employee).
- Employers with fewer than 25 employees are generally excluded from the requirement to restore an employee to their previous position if the position no longer exists due to Coronavirus-related circumstances.
- Emergency Paid Sick Leave
- Applies to all companies with less than 500 employees.
- Eighty hours of paid sick leave paid at the employee’s full rate, or 2/3 of their regular rate if they fall under reasons 4, 5, or 6 below. Eligible reasons are:
- Subject to a federal, state or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19;
- Advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to COVID-19 concerns;
- Experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking medical diagnosis;
- Caring for an individual (does not have to be a family member) subject to quarantine or isolation or are advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to COVID-19 concerns;
- Caring for the employee’s child if the child’s school or place of care is closed or the child’s care provider is unavailable due to a public health emergency; or
- 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.
- Limited to $511 per day and $5,110 total per employee for own use, $2,000 total to care for others and any other substantially similar condition.
Covered Employers: The paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave provisions of the FFCRA apply to certain public employers, and private employers with fewer than 500 employees. Most employees of the federal government are covered by Title II of the Family and Medical Leave Act, which was not amended by this Act, and are therefore not covered by the expanded family and medical leave provisions of the FFCRA. However, federal employees covered by Title II of the Family and Medical Leave Act are covered by the paid sick leave provision.
Small businesses with fewer than 50 employees may qualify for exemption from the requirement to provide leave due to school closings or child care unavailability if the leave requirements would jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern.
Eligible Employees: All employees of covered employers are eligible for two weeks of paid sick time for specified reasons related to COVID-19. Employees employed for at least 30 days are eligible for up to an additional 10 weeks of paid family leave to care for a child under certain circumstances related to COVID-19
Notice: Where leave is foreseeable, an employee should provide notice of leave to the employer as is practicable. After the first workday of paid sick time, an employer may require employees to follow reasonable notice procedures in order to continue receiving paid sick time.
We will continue to follow this application of this legislation and will provide updates when possible.