Now that the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) has become law, new developments are moving quickly. The FFCRAâ€™s paid leave provisions became effective April 1, 2020. As a reminder, the FFCRA provides employees with paid leave, for coronavirus purposes only, through two new laws:
The Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLEA)
The EFMLEA temporarily amends the FMLA â€“ the new law also provides up to 12 weeks of leave, but changes the formula to allow up to 10 of those weeks to be protected paid leave. The new law expands FMLA eligibility to include employees who have been employed for at least 30 days rather than the one-year requirement for traditional FMLA protected leave. Employees will be eligible for EFMLEA leave:
- If they must comply with a quarantine requirement, or recommendation, or because they were exposed to or exhibit coronavirus symptoms;
- To care for a close family member under quarantine (or isolation); or
- To care for a minor child because of school or daycare closure caused by the coronavirus.
The first two weeks remain unpaid unless the employee elects to access paidÂ leave under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (below) orÂ use employer paid time off/sick pay, and the paid benefit is limited to two-thirds of regular pay (up to $200/day). Other FMLA requirements for eligibility, exemptions, and enforcement donâ€™t change. Benefits expire December 31, 2020.
The Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA)
The EPSLA is the second law contained in the FFCRA that provides paid leave. Specifically, it provides full-time employees up to 80 hours (two weeks) of paid sick leave essentially for the same coronavirus related reasons as previously outlined in the EFMLEA. Part-time employees will also receive some coverage. EPSLA leave is provided in addition to the leave under EFMLEA, and employees may exhaust the leave under the EPSLA before they begin using the EFMLEA.
The leave will be paid at 100% of the employeeâ€™s regular rate of compensation (up to $511/day), unless the employee is caring for a child or family member affected by the coronavirus. In that case, it will be 2/3 of the employeeâ€™s regular pay.
The EPSLA also has provisions barring employers from discriminating against an employee who takes advantage of benefits provided by the EPLSA. Employers are also prohibited from retaliating against an employee who files a complaint or initiates a proceeding under the EPSLA.
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued its first Q&A for the FFCRA on March 26, 2020.
FFCRA Notice Requirements
Employers must also post the following poster on their premises by April 1, explaining employee rights under FFCRA. Special rules for electronic posting apply for employers dealing mostly or entirely with employees working from home. A second DOL Q&A on FFCRA addresses specific questions related to the notice requirements.
For expert guidance on this critical update or other related matters, please contact REDW HR Consulting Practice Leader Cristin Heyns-Bousliman.
REDW is committed to keeping you informed at all times, but especially during a crisis of the magnitude of the COVID-19 pandemic.Â Stay connected with us onÂ LinkedInÂ andÂ @REDWLLC. Or check out some of our other updatesÂ here.