The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) requires small and midsize businesses to provide paid sick leave to their employees through two of its provisions: (1) the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA); and (2) the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (Expanded FMLA). (For more information and model sick leave policies, please visit McLane Middleton’s Coronavirus Resource Center here). Under FFRCA, employers subject to the EPSLA and Expanded FMLA paid leave requirements are entitled to fully refundable tax credits to cover the cost of the leave required to be paid to employees for those periods when they are unable to work. Certain self-employed individuals in similar circumstances are entitled to similar credits.
Under Section 2102 of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) Act enacted on March 27, 2020, certain individuals who would not normally qualify for unemployment compensation are eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) benefits if they are unable to continue working as a result of COVID-19. On April 10, 2020, the USDOL issued guidance to the states around implementation of PUA. The guidance and links to additional information can be found at https://wdr.doleta.gov/directives/corr_doc.cfm?DOCN=4628.
Continue Reading CARES Act Expands Pandemic Unemployment Assistance to Those Not Previously Covered
On April 1, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division posted temporary regulations for the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA) and the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLEA) to provide employers with guidance to administer these two new paid leave laws under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The rule became operational on April 1, 2020 and is set to expire on December 31, 2020. The final rule (29 CFR § 826) officially published in the Federal Register today, April 6, 2020.
FFCRA, as amended by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), authorizes the Secretary of Labor to issue regulations “as necessary, to carry out the purposes of this Act, including to ensure consistency” between the EPSLA and the EFMLEA. This blog attempts to highlight only some of these rules. Other posts on the requirements of FFCRA, including DOL guidance to date, can be found at the McLane Middleton’s Coronavirus Resource page.
As part of its ongoing effort to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued temporary regulations to implement emergency leave benefits established under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). These implementing regulations (29 CFR § 826) are available from the DOL at https://www.dol.gov/sites/dolgov/files/WHD/Pandemic/FFCRA.pdf.
While the FFCRA greatly expands emergency leave, including emergency paid sick leave, benefits, employers may elect to exclude certain “health care providers” and “emergency responders” from these provisions of the FFCRA. The following provides a brief summary of those employees who may be exempt.
Throughout the past week, the USDOL has continued to update its guidance into how employers will be expected to manage the paid sick and paid family and medical leave benefits, which will become available to eligible workers as of April 1, 2020, the effective date of the Families First Coronavirus Relief Act (“FFCRA” or the “Act”).
A model notice which employers can use to discharge their obligation to inform employees of their rights under the FFCRA is available here. No specific Certification or Designation Forms have been provided, so employers may create their own forms for the time being.
Continue Reading USDOL Provides Guidance Regarding Emergency Paid Sick Leave and Paid Family and Medical Leave Including Advice on Intermittent Leave and Availability of Benefits to Furloughed Employees
This post was updated on 6/2/2020.
In light of the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which will go into effect on April 1, 2020, companies should consider implementing a new paid sick leave policy. Below, for reference only, is a sample policy to consider. Any new paid sick leave policy should be tailored to each particular workplace, and this policy is not intended to serve as, or to replace, legal advice on this important subject.
SAMPLE Emergency Paid Sick Leave Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act Policy:
In light of the COVID-19 epidemic, the recently-implemented federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”), and our Company’s commitment to the safety and well-being of its employees and other members of the community, the Company has adopted this temporary Emergency Paid Sick Leave (“EPSL”) Policy (the “Policy”). Under the Policy, employees may take a paid leave of absence, up to a maximum of two weeks of paid sick leave in addition to other paid leave provided by the Company to the employee, subject to the terms and conditions outlined below.
On March 18, 2020, the President signed into law The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). This new federal law includes the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act and the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act. Updated guidance on the FFCRA is available from the U.S. Department of Labor at https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic.
Q: What paid leave benefits are required under the new Families First Coronavirus Response Act?
A: Paid family and medical leave and paid sick leave related to COVID-19.
On March 18, 2020, the President signed into law The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (the “Act”. This new federal law will provide employees with emergency paid family leave and paid sick leave related to COVID-19.
These paid leave laws apply to all employers with fewer than 500 employees. The laws take effect on April 1st and expire on December 31, 2020. The Secretary of Labor is expected to issue guidelines to assist employers in complying with these new legal requirements in the coming weeks.
UPDATE: March 23, 2020
Governor Baker announced a statewide “Stay at Home” order, which will begin , March 24 at noon and last at least until April 7. All non-essential businesses will be ordered to cease operations for the same time period.
- What is the difference between a furlough and a layoff or termination?
Furloughs are time off from work without pay, such as a temporary reduction in an employee’s days or hours of work. Furloughs are different from layoffs or terminations. During furloughs, workers remain employed and sometimes work a reduced schedule. Layoffs or terminations involve a separation from employment.