Families First Coronavirus Response Act

By Jeff Epstein

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA or Act) becomes effective April 2 and continues until December 31, 2020. This is a very complicated Act, so I have summarized the provisions to make it easier for you to understand. This is a summary, but the details for implementing the Act may be confusing for you, so if you have any questions or need help implementing this act, please contact me and I will be glad to help.

The Act requires certain employers to provide employees with paid sick or family leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. Paid sick time provided under this Act does not carryover from one year to the next and employees are not entitled to reimbursement for unused time.

Generally, the Act provides that employees of covered employers are eligible for:

  • Two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick time at the employee’s regular rate of pay where the employee is unable to work or remotely work because the employee is quarantined (pursuant to Federal, State, or local government order or advice of a health care provider), and/or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis. A part-time employee is eligible for paid sick time for the number of hours of leave that the employee works on average over a two-week period. The amount of pay is at either the employee’s regular rate or the applicable minimum wage, whichever is higher, up to $511 per day and $5,110 in the aggregate (over a 2-week period).;  or – (an employee cannot double dip)
  • Two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick time at two-thirds the employee’s regular rate of pay because the employee is unable to work or remotely work because of a bona fide need to care for an individual subject to quarantine (pursuant to Federal, State, or local government order or advice of a health care provider), or to care for a child (under 18 years of age) whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19. A part-time employee is eligible for paid sick time for the number of hours of leave that the employee works on average over a two-week period. The amount of pay is 2/3 their regular rate or 2/3 the applicable minimum wage, whichever is higher, up to $200 per day and $2,000 in the aggregate (over a 2-week period); and
  • Up to an additional 10 weeks of paid sick leave at two-thirds the employee’s regular rate of pay where a full-time employee, who has been employed for at least 30 calendar days, is unable to work or remotely work due to a bona fide need for leave to care for a child whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19. A part-time employee is eligible for leave for the number of hours that the employee is normally scheduled to work over that period. The amount of pay is pay at 2/3 their regular rate or 2/3 the applicable minimum wage, whichever is higher, up to $200 per day and $12,000 in the aggregate (over a 12-week period). An employee may elect to substitute any accrued vacation leave, personal leave, or medical or sick leave for the first two weeks of partial paid leave under this section

Covered Employers: The paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave provisions of the FFCRA apply to private employers with fewer than 500 employees. Small businesses with fewer than 50 employees may qualify for exemption from the requirement to provide leave due to school closings or child care unavailability if the leave requirements would jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern. The Department of Labor FFCRA regulations for the exemption are expected in April of 2020.

Notice: Where leave is foreseeable, an employee should provide notice of leave to the employer as is practicable. After the first workday of paid sick time, an employer may require employees to follow reasonable notice procedures to continue receiving paid sick time.

Tax Credits: Covered employers qualify for dollar-for-dollar reimbursement through tax credits for all qualifying wages paid under the FFCRA. Qualifying wages are those paid to an employee who takes leave under the Act for a qualifying reason, up to the appropriate per diem and aggregate payment caps. Applicable tax credits also extend to amounts paid or incurred to maintain health insurance coverage. For more information, please consult your tax professional.

There is another Federal relief bill hopefully coming soon. We will send out another bulletin summarizing the provisions of the new bill.       Remember, if you have any questions, concerns or need help in implementing the Act do not hesitate to contact me.

Jeffrey M. Epstein

Email: epstein@lubkawhite.com

(626) 301-0700 – Cell (213) 703-7999 – Fax (626) 301-0200 

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