Families First Coronavirus Response Act Expands FMLA Coverage and Requires Emergency Paid Sick Leave (effective April 1, 2020)
The Family First Coronavirus Act (FFCRA), passed by Congress on March 18, 2020, expands the Family and Medical Leave Act on a temporary basis and allows an eligible employee to take up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave to care for the employee's child if the child's school or place of care is closed or the childcare provider is unavailable due to the COVID-19 public health emergency. The new expanded law, referred to as the EFMLA, takes effect on April 1, 2020 and remains in effect until December 31, 2020.
Under the EFMLA, the first 10 days of leave may be unpaid and the employee may elect to use any accrued vacation leave, personal leave, or medical or sick leave to cover some or all of the 10-day period. After the 10-day period, an employer must pay full-time employees at two-thirds the employee's regular rate for the number of hours the employee would otherwise be normally scheduled, limited to $200 per day and $10,000 total per employee.
Definition of Eligible Employees
Eligible employees include individuals who have been employed by the employer for at least 30 calendar days and who meet the "qualifying need related to a public health emergency" defined below.
Definition of Eligible Leave
The 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 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 due to a public health emergency." "Public health emergency" is defined as "an emergency with respect to COVID-19 declared by a federal, state, or local authority."
An employee may only take paid sick leave if the employee is unable to work or telework because of one of the reasons listed on the Human Resources website. Qualifying Reasons for Paid Sick Leave, calculations on rate of pay, and impact on other paid leave can be found on the Human Resources website.
FFCRA Requires Employers to Provide Emergency Paid Sick Leave
The FFCRA, also passed by Congress on March 18, 2020, requires private employers with fewer than 500 employees and public agencies with at least one employee to provide up to 80 hours of paid emergency sick leave for certain qualifying coronavirus-related reasons.
The EPSLA takes effect on April 1, 2020 and remains in effect until December 31, 2020.
Paid sick leave is available for immediate use regardless of an employee's length of employment. The EPSLA applies to full- time and part-time employees.
Amount of Leave Available
Full-time employees are entitled up to 80 hours of emergency paid sick leave and part-time employees are entitled to a proportionately similar amount, based on the average number of hours they work in a two-week period. Sick leave provided under the EPSLA does not carry over from one year to the next and is not paid out upon termination of employment.
Learn more about the new legislation.