Families First Coronavirus Response Act:
Provisions For Employees and Responsibilities for Employers
This communication is meant to serve only a brief overview and should not be construed as legal advice. If you have questions or concerns specific to your workplace, seek qualified counsel for updated advice.
On March 18, 2020, President Trump signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“Families First Act”) in to law.
While the legislation has many provisions, this communication is designed to focus on two key areas that address the unprecedented impact of COVID-19 on our nation’s workers.
Keep in mind, that given how new this legislation is, more details and clarifications may be forthcoming, but for now, below is a general outline on how the Act appears to address COVID-19 impacts on workers:
These provisions and requirements are effective April 1, 2020 and will cease December 31, 2020, unless subsequent legislation extends or modifies them.
- Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (E-FMLA)
- Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (E-PSLA)
Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (E-FMLA)
- Applies to employers who employ less than 500 employees and most public employers
- Available to both Full Time and Part Time employees who have been employed for at least 30 days (exceptions allowed for health care providers and emergency responders) The Secretary of Labor can also make some exceptions for employers of less than 50 employees who substantiate that compliance jeopardizes viability of business
- Provides 12 weeks of job protected leave in circumstances were an eligible employee cannot work because he/she needs to care for a minor child due to day care or school closure due to COVID-19
- The first 10 days of E-FMLA are unpaid days. However, the employee may use available Sick or Paid Time Off time if it is part of his/her company’s benefit package or may use the newly available E-PSLA as outlined below. The remaining 10 weeks are to be paid by the employer at 2/3 of the employee’s regular pay for his/her regular hours, capped at $200.00 per day and $10,000.00 total.
- Job protection under E-FLMA does not apply for employers of less than 25 employees if the job no longer exists due to COVID-19. However, in such an instance, that employer must make reasonable efforts to rehire that displaced employee for up to one year, if a similar position exists.
Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (E-PSLA)
- Applies to employers who employ less than 500 employees and most public employers with the same possible exclusions as outlined above (health care providers and emergency responders)
- Available for 6 circumstances:
Under the FFCRA, an employee qualifies for paid sick time if the employee is unable to work (or unable to telework) due to a need for leave because:
- An employee is subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19
- An employee is advised by a health care provider to self quarantine due to COVID-19 concerns
- An employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and is seeking medical diagnosis
- An employee is caring for an individual who is subject to a quarantine or isolation order or who has been advised to self quarantine due to COVID-19
- An employee is caring for his/her son or daughter (as defined under the regular Family Medical Leave Act) if that son/daughter’s school or place of day care is closed related to COVID-19 or that son/daughter’s day care provider is unavailable due to COVID-19
- An employee is experiencing any other substantially similar condition as specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of Labor.
- Full time employees are entitled to 80 hours of paid leave under E-PSLA at their full rate of regular pay for qualifying reasons 1, 2, or 3 and 2/3 pay for qualifying reasons 4, 5, or 6
- Part time employees are entitled to payment equal to the number of hours they work on average over a two week period.
- E-PSLA pay is capped at $511 per day and $5,110 total per employee for use under 1, 2, or 3 and capped at $200 per day and $2000.00 total per employee for use under 4, 5, or 6.
- E-PLSA is in addition to an employer’s existing paid leave policy, if one exists
- Unused E-PSLA time does not carry over after December 31, 2020 and does not get paid out at an employment separation
- Employers may not substitute E-PSLA for any prior paid leave they may have provided to employees for COVID-19 related reasons (or any other reason)
- Employers my allow employees to use E-PSLA paid leave before they use any accrued paid leave that the employer provides
- After the first workday of receiving E-PSLA pay, employers may require employees to provide notice pertaining to status of absence in accordance with existing policies pertaining to “call outs”
- Employers are required to post a notice in the workplace alongside other related labor law posters regarding the availability of E-PSLA (Secretary of Labor must provide the notice within 7 days, and so watch for such a notice)
- Employers are not permitted to retaliate against employee who use E-PSLA and there will be penalties to employers for failure to pay under the provisions of E-PSLA
PAYROLL TAX CREDITS FOR EMPLOYERS
In light of the payment requirements outline above, employers will be granted refundable tax credits against the employer portion of Social Security taxes. The tax credits is 100% of E-PSLA and E-FMLA payments made by the employer, up to the aforementioned per employee caps.
Our team at MNMW is working constantly to bring you the most recent news and updates related to the COVID-19 crisis that could impact you and your loved ones. In a continuing effort to maintain the health and safety of our valued clients, our team, and the community and to cooperate with the advice of health officials, MNMW lobbies in Fort Myers and Naples will be closed to the public until further notice.
For more information you can visit our MNMW Coronavirus (Covid-19) Resource page with the button below or call in at (239) 433-5554.