Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)
On March The purpose of the law is to provide paid sick leave and paid family and medical leave, as well as additional funding to food assistance and unemployment programs, in response to COVID-19.
The Headline - Your responsibilities
Businesses with fewer than 500 employees must provide immediate paid leave for workers who:
- Are symptomatic or are under and order or advice to quarantine or self-isolate
- Have to care for a family member under such an order or advice
- Have a child whose school or child care facility has closed (or whose child care provider is unavailable) due to the coronavirus
In addition, the employer is required to provide partial paid leave for 10 days following the initial two weeks for employees who meet the same circumstances.
Tax Credit - Record your actions
A refundable tax credit will go to employers that provide paid leave benefits so keep records of your actions.
Timing - Start and End Dates
The law takes effect no more than 15 days after being signed March 18, 2020. All benefits will expire on December 31, 2020.
PTO Wage - Employer responsibility
If the employee is eligible for emergency paid leave, they will receive the greatest of:
- Their regular rate of pay;
- The Fair Labor and Standards Act (FLSA) minimum wage rate; or
- The state or locality’s minimum wage rate.
Conditions - The fine print
Always! Both employers and employees are subject to some conditions under this new kind of leave. We’re breaking them out to keep things clear.
- Emergency paid leave does not carry over from one year to the next.
- Emergency paid leave ends as soon as the employee’s next scheduled shift starts after they no longer qualify for the paid time.
- Employees don’t have to find anyone to cover for them if they’re taking emergency paid leave.
- Employees can use emergency paid leave before their regular accrued paid sick time, if they have it.
- Emergency paid leave does not reduce other accrued leave that an employee may have already.
- Employers have to post all this information in a conspicuous place, like a break room. The US Department of Labor (DOL) will provide an example (usually a poster).
- An employer cannot fire, discipline, or discriminate against any employee for using or requesting emergency paid leave.
- Employers who are subject to bargaining agreements must contribute expected amounts to a fund, and the union will distribute to its members as requested.
Fewer than 50 Employees - Are we still impacted?
With permission from the US Secretary of Labor, you can be exempted.
What’s coming next - Loans and Laws
Relief is on the way. The Small Business Administration (SBA) has announced the availability of up to $2 million in loans to help small businesses impacted by coronavirus. Here are the basic qualifications.