Families First Response Act

Happy Friday!

Below is some info regarding the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)

The Act is effective on or by April 2, 2020.

Emergency Paid Sick Leave

  • An employer with fewer than 500 employees must allow an eligible employee to take Emergency Paid Sick Leave. Certain public employers are covered as well.
  • An employee may use Emergency Paid Sick Leave if the employee is quarantined, a doctor advises the employee to self-quarantine, or the employee has COVID-19 symptoms and is waiting for a diagnosis. Under these circumstances, the employee must be paid at their regular rate of pay, up to a maximum of $511 per day or $5,110 total.
  • Employees may also use Emergency Paid Sick Leave if the employee is caring for an individual under quarantine or medical self-quarantine. Under these circumstances, the employee must be paid at their regular rate of pay, up to a maximum of $200 per day.
  • Emergency Paid Sick Leave must be in addition to any benefits that employees already accrue. Emergency Paid Sick Leave cannot reduce existing employee benefits or rights.
  • A full-time employee may take up to 80 hours of Emergency Paid Sick Leave. A part-time employee may take up to the amount of hours they work in an average two-week period.
  • Emergency Paid Sick Leave expires on December 31, 2020. Unused Emergency Paid Sick Leave does not rollover to the following year. Employers are not required to pay unused Emergency Paid Sick Leave if the employee’s employment ends.
  • Employers will receive tax credits to offset the cost of providing employees with Emergency Paid Sick Leave, subject to certain caps.

Emergency Family Medical Leave

  • An employer must give Emergency Family Medical Leave to eligible employees if the employer is a private employer and had fewer than 500 employees for each working day during each of 20 or more calendar weeks of the current or preceding year.
  • Emergency Family Medical Leave is available if an employee cannot work or telework because the employee needs to care for a child under 18 and the child’s school or place of care is either closed or unavailable because of the COVID-19 public health emergency.
  • An employee is eligible for Emergency Family Medical Leave if the employee worked at least 30 calendar days for the employer prior to taking leave.
  • An employee may take up to 12 weeks of Emergency Family Medical Leave. The first 10 days of Emergency Family Medical Leave may be unpaid, but the employee must be allowed to use accrued paid leave in order to be paid during the first 10 days.
  • After the first 10 days, the employer must provide continue to provide leave and pay the employee at least two-thirds of the employee’s usual rate of pay for the employee’s usual number of scheduled hours. If the employee’s hours vary, then the employee’s usual number of scheduled hours must be based on the employee’s average scheduled hours during the last 6 months or the employer’s reasonable expectation of hours to be worked at time of hire. The maximum required pay is $200 per day or $10,000 total to the employee.
  • After returning from Emergency Family Medical Leave, the employer must restored the employee to the employee’s former position. An employer with fewer than 25 employees need not restore the employee to their former position if the position no longer exists, although the employee must later be restored if the position is restored to exist before the earlier of 12 months or the end of the COVID-19 emergency.
  • Employers will receive tax credits to offset the cost of providing employees with Emergency Family Medical Leave, subject to certain caps.

FAQ

Q: Is there any federal legislation addressing COVID-19 that impacts my operations as employer?
A: Yes. The Families First Coronavirus Relief Act (FFCRA) was enacted on March 18, 2020.

Q: What does FFCRA cover in general? A: FFCRA guarantees free coronavirus testing, establishes paid family and medical leave and corresponding tax credits, enhances Unemployment Insurance, expands food security initiatives, and increases federal Medicaid funding. It is divided into the following sections:

A. Appropriations
B. Nutrition Waivers, to allow students who receive free or reduced priced meals through schools to continue to receive them
C. Emergency Family and Medical Leave Act Expansion
D. Emergency Unemployment Insurance Stabilization and Access Act of 2020
E. Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act F. Health Provisions, to help expand COVID-19 diagnostic testing and required tests to be performed at no cost to consumers
G. Tax Credits for Paid Sick and Paid Family and Medical Leave

Q: When does FFCRA take effect?
A: The bill will take effect within 15 days of enactment, i.e., by April 2, 2020.

Q: Which employers are impacted by FFCRA?
A: The paid sick and paid family leave components impact employers with fewer than 500 employees. The bill authorizes the Secretary of the Department of Labor to issue regulations to (1) exclude certain healthcare providers and emergency responders from the definition of eligible employee and (2) exempt small businesses with fewer than 50 employees when it would jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern.

Q: How will FFCRA impact my workforce?
A: Most, but not all, of the provisions of the FFCRA will impact employers with fewer than 500 employees. These employers will be required to provide a certain amount of paid sick and paid family leave to employees affected by COVID-19, and will receive corresponding employment tax credits. In addition, the FFRCA temporarily expands the reasons for which employees working for enterprises with fewer than 500 employees may take leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

For more information check out the links below:

The actual bill
And a more digestible form…

Cheers

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