What You Should Know About The Families First Coronavirus Response Act

On March 18, 2020, the federal government enacted the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which also includes the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA) and the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLEA) among its provisions.  The EPSLA and EFMLEA apply to employers who have fewer than 500 employees, and cover new federal requirements for emergency paid sick leave, and emergency family and medical leave, respectively, that act in addition to the legal requirements already in place.  Calculation of the number of employees pursuant to these laws includes both full time and part time employees, as well as temporary workers and day laborers, but does not include independent contractors and employees who have been laid off or furloughed.

Generally, an employee may qualify under the FFCRA (by way of the EPSLA and/or EFMLEA, as applicable) if unable to work (or tele-work) where the employee:

  1. Is subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19;
  2. Has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine related to COVID-19;
  3. Is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and is seeking a medical diagnosis;
  4. Is caring for an individual subject to an order described in (1) or self-quarantine as described in (2);
  5. Is caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed (or child care provider is unavailable) for reasons related to COVID-19; or
  6. Is experiencing any other substantially-similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the Secretaries of Labor and Treasury.

The benefits that an employee may receive under the EPSLA and/or EFMLEA will depend on the qualifying reason for leave, and on whether the employee works full time or part time.  The benefits may range from two to twelve weeks of paid leave, which may be at an employee’s full pay rate, or only 2/3 of the employee’s pay rate, depending on the circumstances.  Additionally, small businesses with fewer than 50 employees may qualify for an exemption from some of the requirements of the FFCRA in some specific situations.  Finally, employers can qualify to receive tax credits for amounts paid to employees pursuant to the FFCRA.

The FFCRA, EPSLA, and EFMLEA contain a number of different requirements and provisions that employers should know about.  The lawyers at Beresford Booth can guide small business clients through these laws and help them to avoid the penalties for failure to comply.  Please feel free to contact us for any assistance you might need.

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