Brief Overview and Links for Employers Addressing the Coronavirus Crisis
Families First Coronavirus Act (H.R. 6201) (paid family leave and paid sick leave)
- On March 18, 2020, The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201) was signed into law. The paid FMLA and sick leave provisions will take effect 15 days after enactment, which would appear to be April 2nd. Both provisions will expire after December 31, 2020.
- In general, the emergency paid-leave provisions in the legislation apply to businesses with fewer than 500 employees, but there may be some exceptions available for small businesses and companies that employ health care workers.
- For a good overview of the new law, see SHRM’s (The Society for Human Resource Management) article, Many Employers Must Offer Paid Leave Under Coronavirus Relief Law.
Recommendation for Payroll Tracking: We recommend you work with your payroll provider to ensure adequate tracking of any leave under the new law. This will help ensure you receive the appropriate tax credits.
In brief, the law provides the following.
Paid Family Leave
1. 12 Weeks of Leave: 12 weeks of job-protected leave to allow an employee who is unable to work (or telework) to take leave due to a need to care for the employee’s son or daughter (under 18 years of age) if the child’s elementary or secondary school or place of care has been closed, or the childcare provider is unavailable, due to a “public health emergency.” A public health emergency means an emergency with respect to COVID-19 declared by a federal, state, or local authority.
2. 10 Days Can be Unpaid: The first 10 days of leave can be unpaid. However, an employee can opt to substitute accrued vacation, personal, or sick leave during this time, but an employer may not require an employee to do so.
3. 10 Weeks of Paid Leave: For the other 10 weeks, eligible workers must receive two-thirds of their regular rate of pay, which will be capped at $200 a day (and $10,000 total).
4. Who pays for the sick time or leave? Employers must pay the benefits, but they will receive a subsequent tax credit for up to 100% of the cost doing so.
Paid Sick Leave
1. 80 Hours of Paid Sick Leave: Up to 80 hours of paid-sick-leave benefits if an employee that…
- a. Has been ordered by the government to quarantine or isolate because of COVID-19.
- b. Has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine because of COVID-19.
- c. Has symptoms of COVID-19 and is seeking a medical diagnosis.
- d. Is caring for someone who is subject to a government quarantine or isolation order or has been advised by a health care provider to quarantine or self-isolate.
- e. Needs to care for a son or daughter whose school or child care service is closed due to COVID-19 precautions.
- f. Is experiencing substantially similar conditions as specified by the secretary of health and human services, in consultation with the secretaries of labor and treasury. (This is kind of a catch-all.)
2. Paid Sick Leave Amount: Paid sick leave is limited to $511 a day (and $5,110 total) for a worker's own care and $200 a day (and $2,000 total) when the employee is caring for someone else.
3. Who pays for the sick time or leave? Employers must pay the benefits, but they will receive a subsequent tax credit for up to 100% of the cost doing so.
General Information on Current Events and Practices
1. SHRM – Society for Human Resource Management (I recommend paying for access, it’s around $200.00 per year per individual subscription)
2. CDC – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
3. Law Firm Updates and Resource Pages (Or select the employment law firm of your choice, many have their own coronavirus pages. Consider signing up for the firm of your choice’s e-mail distribution list. The links below are not an endorsement or solicitation for a specific law firm.)