On March 18, President Trump signed into law the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The Act will take effect on April 2, 2020 and expire on December 31, 2020. The FFCRA requires employers with up to 500 employees and government employers to provide paid sick leave and paid family leave to their employees. The Act also provides a refundable payroll tax credit to employers to cover 100% of the cost of wages. This is in addition to other emergency measures in response to the pandemic.
Emergency Paid Sick Leave
Employees qualify for emergency paid sick leave if they are unable to work (or telework) for certain COVID-19-related reasons (this is in addition to time available under the employer’s existing paid leave policies):
Full-time employees are entitled to 80 hours of pay and part-time employees are entitled to the number of hours the employee works, on average, over a two-week period of time. If not used, this time does NOT carry over into 2021 and is not paid out upon termination.
Amount of Pay:
Emergency Family Medical Leave
Employers must offer up to 12 weeks of job protected paid family leave for employees who have been employed for at least 30 days for the following limited reason:
The first 10 days of Emergency Family Medical Leave are unpaid, but the employee can overlap this with the 10 days of Emergency Paid Sick Leave. This benefit must replace at least two-thirds of the employee's wages up to a maximum of $200 per day.
The paid family leave tax credit offsets 100% of employer costs for providing mandated paid family leave. The credit also offsets, uncapped, the employer contribution for health insurance premiums for the employee for the period of leave.
The Emergency Family Medical Leave generally requires employers to reinstate employees in the same job or an equivalent position when they return to work, but there is an exception for employers with fewer than 25 employees, if the position no longer exists due to economic conditions or operational changes that are made because of the public health emergency.