With the FFCA effective April 1, 2020, employers (with less than 500 employees) need to be familiar quickly with the FFCA and helping their employees and their business effectively address and manage the spread of coronavirus.
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- H.R.6201 – Families First Coronavirus Response Act
- Questions and Answers
- Employee Paid Leave Rights
- Employer Paid Leave Requirements
The Act Consists of a) Paid Sick Leave (for COVID-19) and b) Paid Expanded Family and Medical Leave
Who is covered?
Employers with fewer than 500 employees and public agencies with at least one employee.
Which employees are eligible?
For Paid Sick Leave:
All employees, regardless of how long they have worked for the employer are eligible for paid sick leave, with the exception that an employer of health care providers or emergency responders may elect to exclude such employees.
For Paid Expanded Family and Medical Leave:
Employees who have been employed for at least 30 calendar days.
How much leave is required?
Paid Sick Leave:
Covered employers must provide full-time employees with up to 80 hours of paid sick leave if the employees are unable to work (or telework) due to COVID-19. Part-time employees are entitled to paid sick leave based on the number of hours the employees work, on average, over a two-week period.
For Paid Expanded Family and Medical Leave:
Up to an additional 10 weeks.
What are the qualifying reasons for leave?
Qualifying reasons for this paid sick leave include:
- The employee is subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID–19.
- The employee has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID–19.
- The employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID–19 and seeking a medical diagnosis.
- The employee is caring for an individual who is subject to either number 1 or 2 above.
- The employee is caring for his or her son or daughter if the school or place of care of the son or daughter has been closed, or the childcare provider of such son or daughter is unavailable, due to COVID–19 precautions.
- 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.
What are the pay requirements?
Paid sick leave must be paid at the employee’s regular rate of pay, or minimum wage, whichever is greater, for leave taken for reasons 1-3 above.
- There is a daily rate cap of $511 per day for a maximum of $5,110 in the aggregate (over a 2-week period)
An Employee taking leave for reasons 4-6 may be compensated at two-thirds of his or her regular rate of pay, or minimum wage, whichever is greater.
- There is a daily rate cap of $200 per day for a maximum of $2,000 in the aggregate (over a 2-week period)
Paid Expanded Family and Medical Leave:
Compensated 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.
- There is a daily rate cap of $200 per day for a maximum of $12,000 in the aggregate (over a 10-week period)
- 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.
What kind of notice should be given?
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.
What if the employee has other paid leave available?
An employer may not require an employee to use other types of paid leave (which could include other state-mandated sick and other leave laws- check with your professionals) provided by the employer before the employee uses the paid sick time available under this law.
What is the effective date?
The-paid-sick leave provisions take effect April 1, 2020 and expire on December 31, 2020.
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.
Each covered employer must post in a conspicuous place on its premises a notice of FFCRA requirements.
Employers may not discharge, discipline, or otherwise discriminate against any employee who takes paid sick leave under the FFCRA and files a complaint or institutes a proceeding under or related to the FFCRA.
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