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The Families First Coronavirus Response Act

| Mar 27, 2020 | Firm News

Photo credit: Senate Photography Studio

On March 18, 2020, Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) went into effect.  This bill, enacted by Congress, responds to the COVID-19 pandemic by providing paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for those affected by the virus.  The provisions will apply until December 31, 2020.

FFCRA applies to certain public employers, and private employers with fewer than 500 employees.  However, small businesses with fewer than 50 employees may qualify for an exemption to provide leave due to school closings or child care unavailability if the requirements would jeopardize the viability of the business.

The additional leave provided by FFCRA is as follows:

(1) Two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick leave at the employee’s normal rate of pay, when the employee is unable to work due to being quarantined, and/or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms; or

(2) Two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick leave at two-thirds the employee’s normal rate of pay, when the employee is unable to work because he or she needs to care for an individual subject to quarantine, or to care for a child whose school or child care provider is closed; and

(3) Up to an additional 10 weeks of paid expanded family and medical leave at two-thirds the employee’s normal rate of pay for an employee, who has been employed for at least 30 calendar days, who is unable to work due to the need to care for a child whose school or child care provider is closed.

For leaves (1) and (2) above, a full-time employee is eligible for 80 hours of leave, and a part-time employee is eligible for the number of hours of leave that the employee works on average over a two-week period.

For leave (3) above, a full-time employee is eligible for up to 12 weeks of leave (this includes two weeks of paid sick leave followed by 10 weeks of paid extended family and medical leave) at 40 hours a week, and a part-time employee is eligible for leave for the number of hours that the employee is normally scheduled to work over that period.

For employees taking two-week leave that are entitled to full pay, they are entitled to pay at their regular rate or the applicable minimum wage, whichever is higher, up to $511 per day and $5,110 in the aggregate (over a 2-week period).  Employees taking two-week leave that are entitled to 2/3 pay, are entitled to pay at 2/3 their regular rate or 2/3 the applicable minimum wage, whichever is higher, up to $200 per day and $2,000 in the aggregate.

For employees taking 12-week leave (two weeks paid sick leave and 10 weeks paid expanded family and medical leave), they are entitled to pay at 2/3 their regular rate or 2/3 the applicable minimum wage, whichever is higher, up to $200 per day and $12,000 in the aggregate (over a 12-week period).  Additionally, an employee may elect to substitute any accrued vacation, personal, or medical or sick leave for the first two weeks of partial paid leave.

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