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Family First Coronavirus Response Act – Signed into law 3/18/2020 -3/19/2020

The Family First Coronavirus has been signed into law by President Trump.  It will go into effect 15 days from being signed into law.  Please note – we only know what has been released and gathered thus far – the bill was written incredibly quickly so some of the details on how this will happen and the logistics will be worked out in the coming weeks.  

As it stands now, the bill gives some relief to workers and their families by creating emergency paid sick leave and paid family leave in the case of school closures. The bill requires employers with up to 500 employees to provide paid sick leave and paid family leave to their employees. To cover the costs of the leave, the government will give employers a refundable payroll tax credit as well as a refundable income tax credit for self-employed individuals.

What employees are eligible: those who have worked at least thirty calendar days for the employer before they were impacted by COVID-19.  Both provisions are set to expire on 12/31/2020.  (this doesn’t apply to businesses that are closing their operations)

Emergency FMLA Expansion 

Ten weeks of paid family leave (12 weeks total) for an employee with a minor child who is unable to work (or telework) in the event of the closure of the child’s school or place of care due to COVID-19 precautions. 100% of employer costs are offset for providing this mandated paid family leave. Under the expanded paid family leave provision, the benefits are as follows:

  • The first 10 days are unpaid, but the employee can use the 10 days of paid sick leave during this time.
  • The benefit must replace at least two-thirds of the employee’s wages up to a maximum of $200 per day (and $10,000 in aggregate) and reflect the number of hours an employee would otherwise be normally scheduled to work.
  • This 12 week period does not extend any time under the FMLA act, it simply adds another reason for leave and specifies payment.
  • The Act allows an employer of an employee who is a health care provider or an emergency responder to elect out of providing paid family leave to these employees.
  • The Labor Department will have the authority to exempt from the paid family leave requirement small businesses with fewer than 50 employees if the requirement to provide leave would jeopardize the viability of the business.

Emergency Paid Sick Leave for Employers

Two weeks (10 days) of paid sick leave for COVID-19-related reasons for eligible full-time employees. 100% of employer costs are offset for providing this mandated paid sick leave. Under the paid sick leave provision, employees who are unable to work (or telework) may take leave if they:

  • are subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19 (100% of pay capped at $511 per day);
  • have been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19 (100% of pay capped at $511 per day);
  • are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis (100% of pay capped at $511 per day);
  • are caring for an individual who is subject to a quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19, or has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19 (2/3 pay capped at $200 per day);
  • are caring for a son or daughter if the school or place of care for the child has been closed, or childcare provider is unavailable due to COVID-19 precautions (2/3 pay capped at $200 per day); or
  • are experiencing any other substantially similar condition as specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services (2/3 pay capped at $200 per day).

For further information – please see the link below – and please understand, we are getting updated information on an hourly basis – as we find out more information – we will be sure to share it.  Please also note, this is not meant to be legal advice – we are not legal advisors.  We strongly suggest speaking to your legal team for specific questions or implementing a new leave policy, in general.

Federal_Law_Alert_-_Special_March_2020_Edition_-_Families_First_Coronavirus_Response_Act

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