Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)

Background

On March 18, 2020, President Trump signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) into law. The FFCRA becomes effective April 1, 2020 and expires on December 31, 2020. This law provides for Emergency Paid Sick Leave (ESPL) and Expanded Family Medical Leave (EFML) for eligible employees. This law was passed by Congress to minimize the financial hardship on employees affected by the COVID-19 pandemic while providing the opportunity for self-care and care for family members.

Emergency Paid Sick Leave (“EPSL”)

CSM must provide up to 80 hours of paid leave to all full-time employees who need to miss work and are unable to work remotely because of illness or quarantine, or to care for family members who are ill, quarantined or are children under the age of 18 without school or child care because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Part-time employees are also entitled to two weeks pro rata paid leave. 

This mandatory paid leave is in addition to any other paid leave already provided to such employees and is capped at a maximum of $511/day when the employee is ill or quarantined and $200/day if the leave is necessary to care for a family member. This leave is in addition to any administrative leave provided by CSM.  Employees are eligible for this leave if they must be absent from work and are unable to work remotely because of the following six (6) reasons:

  1. Have been ordered by the government to quarantine or isolate because of COVID-19.
  2. Have been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine because of COVID-19.
  3. Have symptoms of COVID-19 and are seeking a medical diagnosis.
  4. Are 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.
  5. Need to care for a son or daughter under the age of 18 whose school or child- care service is closed due to COVID-19 precautions.
  6. Are experiencing substantially similar conditions as specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the Secretaries of Labor and the Treasury. 

Expanded Family Medical Leave (“FMLA”)

The FFCRA temporarily expands the FMLA to provide paid leave to those employees who are unable to work, in-person or remotely, due to a need to care for the employee’s child under 18 years of age if the school or place of care has been closed, or the child care provider is unavailable due to a public health emergency related to COVID-19.

To be eligible for this FMLA, employees need only to have been employed for 30 days, rather than the usual 12 months.

The first 10 days of this FMLA may be unpaid, though the employee may elect to substitute paid time off or use EPSL as described above. Unlike traditional FMLA, an employer may not require an employee to substitute paid time off for any of this public health emergency FMLA. After the first 10 days of leave, the remaining 10 weeks of leave must be paid at a rate of at least 2/3 of the employee’s usual rate of pay for the number of hours they would usually be scheduled to work, capped at $200/day or $10,000 total per employee.

A Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) poster is available online here.

The FFCRA poster outlines employee rights to paid sick leave and expanded Family Medical Leave, eligibility criteria and qualifying reasons for paid sick leave, and expanded Family Medical Leave under this law.

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