Families First Coronavirus Response Act

March 21, 2020

 
 
 

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”) was passed by Congress and signed into law effective March 18, 2020. This Act will be in effect beginning April 2, 2020, which gives you 15 days to prepare for its provisions. Two of the Act’s key provisions provide for paid sick leave (Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act) and for expanded family medical leave act benefits (Emergency Family Medical Leave Expansion Act). These provisions may impose a significant financial and operational burden on your business; this is a fluid situation and as further information becomes available, we will attempt to update this information.

FFCRA will apply to all employers with fewer than 500 employees. FFCRA provides an exemption for certain health care providers and emergency responders and for small businesses that employ fewer than 50 employees who can demonstrate that compliance would jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern.

The FFCRA establishes the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act. This Act requires employers to provide paid sick leave to certain classes of employees, as follows:

  1. “The employee is subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID–19.”
  2. “The employee has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID– 19.”
  3. “The employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID– 19 and seeking a medical diagnosis.”
  4. “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).
  5. “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.”
  6. “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.”

Employees under classifications ¶1-3 above are entitled to their regular compensation, capped at $511.00 per day.

Employees under classifications ¶4-6 above are entitled to their regular compensation, capped at $200.00 per day.

If any employee falls under the above 6 classifications, the amount of paid sick time that they are entitled to is as follows:

  1. For Full-Time employees: 2 weeks (80 hours).
  2. Part-Time employees: the average number of hours the employee works over a 2-week period.

A few other key provisions of the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act are:

  1. You cannot force an employee to use any other paid leave provided by the Employer in lieu of the leave provided by this Act. For example, if you presently offer 3 weeks of PTO, the employee would be entitled to first use the 2 weeks provided for under this Act, and retain the 3 weeks of the PTO.
  2. As of March 18, 2020, you are unable to retroactively modify any sick leave or PTO policies to eliminate such leaves.
  3. Health care providers can exclude employees from the applicability of this Act, but we are unsure of the bounds of this exception, but it appears to be limited to medical doctors, doctors of osteopathy and registered nurses.
  4. Within 7 days there will be a posting from the Department of Labor that you will need to make publicly available in your office.

The FFCRA establishes the Emergency Family Medical Leave Expansion Act (“EFMLEA”). In a nutshell, anybody falling under the above listed 6 classifications is eligible for FMLA benefits for 12 weeks. The primary difference to typical FMLA leave is that the last 10 weeks of this leave would be paid at 2/3 of the Employee’s salary. This pay is capped at $200/day and shall in no event exceed $10,000. The EFMLEA provides for the potential for certain small businesses (under 50 employees) may be exempted from this FMLA expansion, subject to further regulation by the Secretary of Labor.


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Erickson, Davis, Murphy, Johnson & Walsh, LTD.
132 S. Water St., Suite 610
Decatur, IL 62523
Office Ph. #: 217.428.0948
Office Fax #: 217.429.0996
csiudyla@ericksondavislaw.com

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Erickson, Davis, Murphy, Johnson & Walsh, LTD.
132 S. Water St., Suite 610
Decatur, IL 62523
Office Ph. #: 217.428.0948
Office Fax #: 217.429.0996
dreimer@ericksondavislaw.com

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