The Families First Coronavirus Response Act was signed into law on March 18, 2020. The Act provides for emergency paid sick pay, emergency expansion of family and medical leave, and tax credits for employers.
Wick Law is here to answer all of your questions during the uncertain and unprecedented time.
Here’s a quick synopsis of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act:
EMERGENCY FAMILY MEDICAL LEAVE
Employees caring for a child whose school or care center has closed as a result of a national health emergency, such as corona virus, and cannot work or telework as a result much be provided up to 12 weeks of leave. Again, small businesses with fewer than 50 employees may seek an exemption from the Secretary of Labor.
Here are the details:
- The first two weeks of leave is unpaid. Employees may elect to use any paid time off available, such as vacation, sick, or personal time, to cover these weeks.
- The next 10 weeks of leave is paid at two-thirds of the employee’s salary.
- Employees must have been employed with employer for at least 30 days to qualify, and employers must make reasonable efforts to return said employees to the same of substantially similar position (similar in pay, benefits, and other terms and conditions of employment) upon their return from leave, barring specific hardship exemptions for employers with fewer than 25 employees.
EMERGENCY PAID SICK LEAVE:
Employers could be required to pay employees for up to two weeks of sick leave when a national health emergency is declared under these circumstances:
- Employee is subject to a federal, state or local quarantine or isolation order;
- Employee has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine;
- Employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking medical diagnosis;
- Employee is caring for an individual under quarantine or self-isolation directions;
- Employee is caring for a child whose school or care facility is closed;
- Employee is experiencing another substantially similar condition as specified by the Secretary of HHS in consultation with the Secretaries of Labor and Treasury.
Small businesses with under 50 employees may seek an exemption from the Secretary of Labor from the requirement to offer this leave to employees caring for a child whose school or care facility has closed due to coronavirus “when the imposition of such requirements would jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern.”
Amounts paid by employers to employees for paid sick time and family medical leave benefits are eligible for tax credits against payroll taxes to help offset the cost to employers.
NOTICE FROM THE SECRETARY OF LABOR
The Secretary of Labor will provide a sample Notice within the next week that meets the posting requirements. Employers are required to post a notice of this Act in their place of business where notices for employees are typically posted. Employers who fail to do so are subject to a fine. Employers who fail to provide benefits in accordance with the Act may be considered in violation of the minimum wage laws.