President Trump signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”) into law on Wednesday, March 18, 2020. It will take effect within 15 days.
The FFCRA requires employers with fewer than 500 employees to provide two different kinds of paid leave for certain Coronavirus/COVID-19-related reasons. The costs of these paid leaves will be offset by tax credits (against the 6.2% social security tax payment employers usually make to the federal government with each payroll).
The two leaves are as follows:
It is very important to note that not all Coronavirus/COVID-9-related reasons trigger the right to these leaves. For example, the FFCRA does NOT require employers to provide paid leave under broader circumstances, e.g., an employer’s decision to cease operations, reduce headcount or hours, etc. It is up to employers to decide whether to expand their current paid time off plans/policies to cover these other situations.
Some other key attributes of the FFCRA:
So… what should an employer do now?
For additional information contact Albert Lee.
 DISCLAIMER: This is a general discussion and, therefore, neither constitutes nor substitutes for specific legal advice that takes into account your organization’s specific jurisdiction(s) or circumstances. Please seek legal counsel if you need specific guidance.
 An employer may exclude employees who are health care providers or emergency responders from coverage under the FFCRA. Additionally, the Secretary of Labor has the authority to grant exemptions to businesses with fewer than 50 employees upon a showing that compliance would “jeopardize the viability of a business as a going concern.”
 The government will establish a process by which employers are reimbursed if this credit does not fully cover the leave payments made.
 Leave time taken for reasons 1a.-c. is to be paid at the employee’s regular rate of pay, subject to daily and aggregate limits of $511 and $5,110, respectively. Leave time taken for reasons 1d.-f. is to be paid at 2/3 of the employee’s regular rate of pay, subject to daily and aggregate limits of $200 and $2,000, respectively.
 The duration of the paid sick leave is: 80 hours for full-time employees; or, for part-time employees, the number of hours each works on average over a two-week period.
 Employers with fewer than 25 employees are exempt from the requirement to restore an employee to his/her prior position (or an equivalent) upon the expiration of the need for leave, if the employee’s position no longer exists following leave due to operational changes occasioned by a public health emergency (e.g., a dramatic downturn in business caused by the COVID-19 pandemic), subject to certain conditions.
 During the first two weeks of this expanded FMLA leave, an employee can opt (but not be required by the employer) to receive accrued vacation, personal, or sick leave. The remaining period is to be paid at 2/3 of the employee’s regular rate, subject to daily and aggregate limits of $200 and $10,000, respectively.
March 19, 2020
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