Familes First Coronavirus Response Act
On March 19, 2020, President Trump signed into law the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”) sponsored by members of Congress, which includes both the “Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act” and the “Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act.” This affects both employers and employees alike as we deal with the spread of COVID-19. The full text on the act can be found here. This becomes law no later than fifteen days after it was signed, meaning before April 2, 2020 and expires on December 31, 2020. Under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave act, all employees are eligible for eighty hours of sick leave. That time can be used when an employee cannot work (whether on location or from home) of the employee:
- is being in quarantine or isolation,
- has been advised to self-quarantine,
- is experiencing symptoms and is seeking medical care,
- is caring for an individual who falls into the first three sections,
- is caring for a son or daughter whose school or place of care is closed due to COVID-19 precautions, or
- is experiencing another substantially similar condition.
For sections 1, 2, and 3, the employee must be paid at his or her full rate but that cannot exceed $511 a day or $5,110 in the aggregate over the two weeks. For sections 4, 5, and 6, the employee must be paid at a rate of at least two-thirds but that cannot exceed $200 a day or $2,000 in the aggregate over the two weeks. Under this Act, the added sick time cannot be carried over into the next year. Employers cannot require employees to use other paid leave before paid leave under this Act is used.
The Emergency FMLA Expansion-which is an expansion upon the existing Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993-allows for extended leave for employees to care for a child due to the spread of COVID-19, up to twelve weeks. An employee who cannot work (whether on location or from home)may elect to take this extended leave, which is paid out as follows: for the first ten days (two weeks of business days), that employee is not paid under this section; for the remaining ten weeks of standard medical leave, that employee is paid at a rate of two-thirds their normal rate. That two-thirds rate cannot exceed $200 a day or $10,000 in the aggregate. This section allows for an employee to supplement the first ten days with other paid leave.
Both sections of this law have language that allows the Department of Labor to restrict how this applies to certain health care providers and emergency responders. Under the FMLA Expansion, there is a special rule created that allows an employer of a health care providers or emergency reponders to exclude those employees. That same rule does not apply to the Emergency Paid Sick Leave.
Contact Bruntrager and Billings, P.C. at 314-646-0066 or online, for specific questions regarding how this applies.