The Families First Coronavirus Response Act was signed into law on March 18, 2020 to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Act includes the following provisions for certain public employers, and private employers with fewer than 500 employees.
Small businesses with fewer than 50 employees may qualify for exemption from the requirement to provide leave if the leave requirements would jeopardize the viability of the business.
Paid Family Leave
Under the Act, eligible employees may take leave to care for a child under 18 years of age if the child’s school or place of care has been closed, or the child care provider is unavailable, due to a COVID-19 emergency as declared by a federal, state, or local authority, and the employee is unable to work (or telework).
The Act provides eligible employees, those who work for employers with fewer than 500 employees and who have been employed for at least 30 calendar days, with the right to take up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave. The first ten days may be unpaid, though an employee may elect to substitute any accrued vacation leave, personal leave, or medical or sick leave for unpaid leave. After ten days of unpaid leave, an employer is required to pay up to $200 per day/$10,000 in aggregate.
This provision takes effect April 2, 2020 and expires on December 31, 2020. More guidance on Paid Family Leave implementation is expected from the government on April 2nd.
Paid Sick Leave
Two weeks of emergency paid sick leave is required to be paid by certain employers (including private employers with fewer than 500 employees) if the employee is unable to work (or telework) due to the following COVID-19 related reasons:
- is subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19
- has been advised by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19
- is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and is seeking a medical diagnosis
- is caring for an individual who is subject to a quarantine or isolation or has been advised to self-quarantine by a healthcare provider
- is caring for a child whose school or place of care has been closed, or the child care provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19 precautions
- is experiencing any other condition substantially similar to COVID-19, as specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services
Full-time employees are entitled to 80 hours of paid sick leave. Part-time employees are entitled to the number of hours that the employee works, on average, over a two-week period. The amount of paid sick time is not dependent on the length of time the employee has been employed by an employer. Paid sick time provided under the Act ceases after the termination of the need for paid sick time.
Last updated: 3.26.20. This information in this communication is general in nature, and is not intended, nor should it be construed, as legal, accounting, tax or other professional advice rendered by GreenSlate, LLC. The reader should contact his or her attorney, CPA, or tax professional prior to taking any action based upon this information.