What are the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Act (EFMLA) and Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) Act?
The EFMLA and EPSL are leave programs available under the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). They are intended for employees who are unable to work or telework due to COVID-19 and meet the eligibility criteria. See the Employee Rights—Families First Coronavirus Response Act PDF for more info on eligibility, key features, pay, and other important aspects.
The EFMLA expands the FMLA temporarily (until December 31, 2020) to provide employees with 12 weeks of leave to care for a minor child due to school closings or day care unavailability because of COVID-19. The first 10 days of EFMLA leave are unpaid (but may be paid by the EPSL or by using other accrued leave), while weeks three to 12 are paid. EFMLA is at a rate of two-thirds an employee's regular rate of pay, with certain caps per week.
EPSL provides up to 80 hours of paid sick leave to allow employees to take care of themselves or another individual due to quarantine, COVID-19 or similar symptoms, or to take care of a minor child due to school closings or day care unavailability because of COVID-19. Pay is at full or two-thirds the regular pay rate, depending on the reason an employee is taking EPSL.
What are the eligibility requirements for EPSL?
See the Employee Rights—Families First Coronavirus Response Act PDF. To be eligible for EPSL, an employee must be able to use one of the six reasons listed.
Does staying home in compliance with Governor Whitmer's "Stay Home, Stay Safe" order qualify as being under quarantine?
No. The governor's "Stay Home, Stay Safe" order is not a quarantine or self-isolation order. A quarantine or self-isolation order may only be issued by a medical doctor or a health department.
Can I be eligible for both EPSL and EFMLA?
Yes. An employee may be eligible for both types of leave. The EPSL provides for an initial two weeks of paid leave, and may be used to cover the first 10 workdays of EFMLA, which are otherwise unpaid.
The amount of leave available to an employee through EFMLA may vary, based on the employee's use of FMLA this year.
How do I apply for EPSL and EFMLA?
You will be required to fill out the appropriate use request form for the leave(s) you are applying for. Your form(s) must be received by Human Resources prior to the use of either leaves and must be completed in full.
You are required to follow your normal protocols for requesting leave and all leave must be approved by your supervisor. Once the leave and documentation is completed, you should submit the hours under the appropriate leave-purpose options available on your time sheet.
How do I enter these leaves on my time sheet?
Find the code below that matches A) the type of leave, B) the percentage of pay received, C) any pay caps that may apply, and D) the reason used to apply for the leave (for EPSL codes only).
Refer to the Employee Rights—Families First Coronavirus Response Act PDF for definitions of Reasons 1-6.
905 — EPSL, 100 percent (no pay cap). Reason: 1, 2, or 3.
910 — EPSL, 100 percent (capped for those making more than $63.88 per hour). Reason: 1, 2, or 3.
911 — EPSL, two-thirds (no pay cap). Reason: 4, 5, or 6.
916 — EPSL, two-thirds (capped for those making more than $37.50 per hour). Reason: 4, 5, or 6.
917 — EFMLA, two-thirds (no pay cap). This leave code applies to those with the 10-day waiting period.
918 — EFMLA, two-thirds (capped for those making more than $37.50 per hour). This leave code applies to those with the 10-day waiting period.
Can EFMLA and EPSL be used intermittently?
Yes. Michigan Tech will allow the use of EFMLA or EPSL on an intermittent basis.
My child's school and day care are closed. Can I apply for EPSL and EFMLA to care for them?
To be eligible for paid sick leave to care for a child, an employee must be in a position where they are able to work, and they have work available. If both of the above requirements are met, the employee may take paid sick leave to care for their child.
However, paid sick leave should only be taken if an employee needs to, and actually is, caring for their child. Generally, an employee does not need to take such leave if another suitable individual—such as a co-parent, co-guardian, or the usual child care provider—is available to care for the child.
An employee is not eligible if their employer does not have work for them.
Can I take EPSL and EFMLA to care for someone else who is sick?
Yes, but the individual being cared for must be an immediate family member, roommate, or a person with whom the employee has a personal relationship. Such relationships must be close enough to create an expectation that the employee would care for the person if he or she self-quarantined or was subject to official quarantine.
Paid sick leave may not be taken to care for someone with whom an employee has no personal relationship.
There is no work for me to do at Michigan Tech. Can I take EPSL and EFMLA?
No. You may not take paid sick leave under the FFCRA if your employer does not have work for you. This is because you would still be unable to work even if you were not required to comply with the quarantine or isolation order.
You may use your own paid leave time if available (sick, vacation, personal, etc.). You may also apply for unemployment without using your own paid time.
Updated July 7, 2020, 2:15 p.m. Reference to Pandemic Leave removed (expired on June 30, 2020).
I can't work remotely and I don't qualify for either EPSL or EFMLA. Can I apply for unemployment?
Yes. During this time, you can file for unemployment. You do not have to use your own paid leave time before filing for unemployment.
I have already used some or all of my FMLA leave for the year. Do I qualify for EPSL and EFMLA?
For EPSL: Yes. Eligible employees are entitled to paid sick leave under the EPSL regardless of how much leave they have taken under the FMLA.
For EFMLA: Eligible employees may take a combined total of 12 weeks for FMLA or EFMLA reasons during the 12-month rolling year period. If an employee has already used all 12 weeks of FMLA leave, they will not be eligible for EFMLA.
If I take EFMLA and/or EPSL, do my health benefits continue during the leave period?
Yes. If an employee already has health coverage, the employee is entitled to continued group health coverage during the EFMLA or EPSL leave on the same terms as if they continued to work.
Will my job be protected if I take EFMLA and EPSL?
Generally, yes. The Acts require employers to provide the same (or a nearly equivalent) job to an employee who returns to work following leave.
In most instances, employees are entitled to be restored to the same or an equivalent position upon return from EPSL or EFMLA. Employers may not fire, discipline, or otherwise discriminate against employees for taking EPSL or EFMLA. Nor can employers fire, discipline, or otherwise discriminate against employees for filing any type of complaint or proceeding relating to the Acts. Employment actions that are unrelated to an employee's leave status may proceed as usual, including while an employee is on leave.
If I take EFMLA and EPSL, will my hours of paid sick leave be affected?
No. An employee who is taking EFMLA or EPSL cannot supplement those leaves with other types of leave.
How much leave pay will I receive under EFMLA and EPSL?
EFMLA: The rate of leave pay under EFMLA is two-thirds of the employee's regular pay with a cap of $200 per day. The maximum payout under EFMLA is $10,000.
EPSL: The rate of leave pay under EPSL is either two-thirds of regular pay or the full amount, depending on why EPSL is taken.
- If EPSL is taken to care for a family member or for child care purposes (reasons 4-6 on the Employee Rights PDF), the rate of leave pay is two-thirds of regular pay with a cap of $200 per day. The maximum payout under EPSL for family care or child care is $2,000.
- If EPSL is taken to care for yourself (reasons 1-3), the rate of leave pay is full regular pay with a cap of $511 per day. The maximum payout under EPSL for self-care is $5,110.
Who is a full-time employee and who is a part-time employee under the EPSL?
For the purposes of the EPSL, a full-time employee is an employee who is normally scheduled to work 40 hours per week. A part-time employee is an employee who is normally scheduled to work fewer than 40 hours per week.
The EFMLA does not distinguish between full-time and part-time employees.
I am a part-time employee. How many hours of leave I am eligible for under the EPSL?
A part-time employee is entitled to leave equivalent to their average number of work hours in a two-week period. Under the provision, hours of leave are calculated based on the number of hours the employee is normally scheduled to work. If the normally scheduled work hours are unknown, or if the part-time employee's schedule varies, a six-month average may be used to calculate the average daily hours.
Who counts as "a health care provider" for EFMLA and EPSL eligibility purposes?
For eligibility under reasons two and four listed in the Employee Rights PDF, the term "health care provider" means a licensed doctor of medicine, nurse practitioner, or other health care provider permitted to issue a certification for purposes of FMLA.
Are the EFMLA and EPSL leave requirements retroactive?
I'm still working, but my hours are reduced. Can I use EFMLA or EPSL to make up the hours I'm no longer scheduled to work?
If I use leave under the EPSL and EFMLA, can I use other paid leave available to me to supplement my paycheck?
I am only eligible to receive two-thirds of my regular pay under EPSL and EFMLA. Can I apply for unemployment for the one-third difference?
No. Unemployment may not be used to supplement EFMLA or EPSL.
If I use my 80 hours of EPSL because I'm under self-quarantine, would I have more hours available under another EPSL eligibility reason?
No. A full-time employee's paid sick leave under the EPSL, for any combination of qualifying reasons, is limited to 80 hours. For a part-time employee, the maximum number of hours is equal to the average number of hours worked over a typical two-week period.
I'm currently on leave because of the birth of a child. I'm unable to telework, and my day care provider is closed. Am I eligible for EFMLA?
No. Leave for the purpose of child bonding is not considered related to COVID-19. However, if an employee is scheduled to return to work and is unable to do so because their child's school or place of care is closed, or child care is unavailable due to COVID-19, then they may qualify for EFMLA.
Is stress and anxiety due to COVID-19 a covered condition under EPSL?
No, unless the employee submits a health care provider's note saying they are advising a patient to self-quarantine due to COVID-19.
Please refer to the eligibility requirements listed on the Employee Rights PDF.
Is the Pandemic Leave that Michigan Tech provided to certain employees available beyond June 30, 2020?
No. An employee may use Michigan Tech's Pandemic Leave through June 30, 2020, at which time those provisions expire. Pandemic Leave hours do not carry over or pay out to employees.