You may have heard that President Trump signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (the “Act”). There are two important provisions from an employment standpoint, applicable to most employers with 500 employees or less (with a few exceptions):
- Paid sick leave (80 hours) for all full time employees who qualify (part time employees are allowed leave in an amount equal to the average number of hours the employee works over a two-week period)
- Expansions of the Family and Medical Leave Act to provide an extended period of unpaid or partially paid leave to certain employees who unable to work (or telework) due to a need for leave to care for the son or daughter under 18 years of age 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 (‘E-FMLA’)
While the paid sick leave applies to any employee who has a medical condition which qualifies, the E-FMLA provision only applies to employees who have been employed for 30 days or more.
Paid Sick Leave:
In terms of the paid sick leave, it applies when
- 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 an order as described in subparagraph (1) or has been advised as described in paragraph (2).
- The employee is caring for a son or daughter of such employee if the school or place of care of the son or daughter has been closed, or the child care 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.
The E-FMLA only applies to an employee unable to work (or telework) due to a need for leave to care for the son or daughter under 18 years of age 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. The regular FMLA is still in place as well so folks who do not fall under E-FMLA, but would fall under the FMLA, still have those benefits and protections.
**The new sick leave and E-FMLA provisions will go into effect on April 1, and all covered employers will have to post notice of these laws to employees. The DOL has issued the required posting for the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”). You can find it by clicking here. The DOL has also published guidance on employer compliance with the FFCRA. Click here for guidance.** (updated on 3/26/2020)
There are some guidelines on what has to be paid and caps upon amounts, tax credits available and some other details about the laws not included herein for purposes of brevity. If you or your company have more specific questions or a legal matter involving the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and how it will impact employment or any labor law issues, please contact Anderson Jones Attorney Christine Mayhew by email or (919) 277-2541.