By: Jaymen Chavda, Shuchita Lotlikar
President Trump signed the temporary Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) on March 18, 2020. FFCRA is designed to provide relief in the form of paid and job protected sick leave for those impacted by coronavirus (COVID-19). The current Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) has been expanded to include leave under FFCRA. FFCRA will be effective within 15 days and will expire on December 31, 2020.
One of the FFCRA’s provisions, The Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA), requires employers with fewer than 500 employees to provide paid sick leave to employees who cannot work (in person or remotely) because they:
- Must follow a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order
- Have been advised to self-quarantine by a healthcare provider due to COVID-19 concerns
- Are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and are seeking a medical diagnosis
- Are caring for an individual who must self-quarantine or isolate based on government mandate or medical recommendation
- Need to care for their child whose school or care provider is unavailable due to coronavirus precautions
- Have substantially similar symptoms, as defined by the Secretary of Health & Human Services, the Secretary of the Treasury, and the Secretary of Labor
Emergency sick leave pay for those who are suffering from COVID-19 or self-quarantined due to COVID-19 concerns is capped at $511 per day. Pay for those who take leave to care for people infected by COVID-19 or look after a child is capped at two-thirds of their regular pay, not exceeding $200 per day.
FMLA provisions have been expanded to include cases of COVID-19 for employers that have 500 or fewer employees. If an employee has worked for 30 days in a company, then they are eligible to use up to 12 weeks of FMLA job protected leave due to COVID-19 concerns as outlined above. The first 10 days of FMLA leave will be unpaid, during which employees can use their earned paid time off. For 10 weeks thereafter, these employees will receive two-thirds of their regular pay rate, with a $200 daily cap and total pay not to exceed $10,000.
The Act also provides employers with Social Security tax credit from employee payroll.