Families First Coronavirus Response Act: what employers must do now

Updated: Apr 2

On March 18, 2020, President Trump signed into law the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. This law affects employers with 1 to 500 employees and goes into effect April 2, 2020. The law will expire on December 31, 2020.

The FFCRA includes two types of paid time off through the following provisions: Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act and Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act. Employers will be subsidized for the required paid leave through year-end tax credits.


There are six criteria for coverage:

1. The employee is subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19.

2. The employee has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19.

3. The employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis.

4. The employee is caring for an individual who is subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order, or has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19.

5. The employee is caring for a son or daughter of such employee if the school or place of care of the son or daughter has been closed, or the childcare provider of such son or daughter is unavailable, due to COVID-19 precautions.

6. The employee is experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of Labor.

Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act Highlights:

· Regardless of how long an employee has been employed, paid sick time must be available for immediate use. [Note: Employer may not require the use of other paid leave provided by the employer before the use of the emergency paid sick leave.]

· Employees may take up to 2 weeks paid sick leave, i.e., full time, 80 hours; part time, a number of hours equal to the number of hours that such employee works, on average, in a 2-week period.

· Pay caps of $511 per day and $5,110 in the aggregate, have been established for employees experiencing #1, #2, or #3 of the six criteria.

· Pay caps of $200 per day and $2,000 in the aggregate, have been established for employees acting as a caregiver for another person, #4, #5, or #6 of the six criteria.

· Employee’s minimum rate of pay must be calculated based on the employee’s regular rate of pay in accordance with the Fair Labor Standards Act or the minimum wage rate, whichever is greater. [Note: Employee’s rate of pay is 2/3 that amount when caring for another person.]

Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act Highlights:

· Applies to employers with fewer than 500 employees. [Note: The 50-employee requirement of the FMLA has been waived only for the emergency childcare leave.]

· Eligible employees must be employed for at least 30 calendar days by the employer.

· Employee may take up to 12 workweeks of leave.

· The first 10 days must be unpaid, but employees may substitute any other paid leave the employer provides, if desired.

· For the remaining 10 workweeks, employers must compensate employees up to $200 per day and $10,000 in the aggregate, calculated based on an amount not less than 2/3 of an employee’s regular rate of pay according to the FLSA.

· Reasonable efforts to restore the employee to a position equivalent to the position the employee held when leave commenced.

What Employers Need to Do Now:

1. Employers will be required to notify employees by posting a notice approved by the Secretary of Labor. A model notice will be made available no later than March 25, 2020. Such notice should be conspicuously placed in the same manner as other employment law notices are regularly posted.

2. Add payroll reporting features so that paid time off hours and amounts for each the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act and the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act may be tracked for end of year tax credits.

3. Keep vigilant to the changing conditions that may affect other areas of employment law and business.

DID YOU KNOW? RISE offers comprehensive Human Resources Consulting. Should you have additional questions about this article or other employment topics, we would be happy to use our expertise in assisting you. Check us out: www.risebusconsultants.com

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