Last week, the President signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“Families First”). This law did many things, but there are some that have a direct impact on your business if you have employees. Families First created the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act that mandates, essentially that all business that have between 1 and 500 employees are required to provide paid sick leave in relation to the Coronavirus. Families First also crated the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Act. This Act, essentially, extends FMLA to all businesses that have between 1 – 500 employees.
EMERGENCY PAID SICK LEAVE ACT
- The law applies to all employers with fewer than 500 employees;
- Any employee is eligible;
- There is no minimum hour requirement for eligibility – in other words, an employee who is hired today, will be able benefit from the Act as soon as it becomes effective;
- For full-time employees, they will be entitled to recover up to 80 hours paid leave;
- For part-time employees, they will be entitled to recover a number of hours equal to the average number of hours worked over the preceding two-week period;
- Paid Sick Leave can be used for the following reasons:
- *If there is a government issues quarantine or isolation order;
- *If an employee’s health care provider directs the employee to self-quarantine;
- *If the employee has symptoms of Coronavirus and is seeking a diagnosis;
- If the employee is caring for another who is subject to a quarantine or isolation order;
- If the employee is caring for a child during a shutdown of the child’s school; and
- If there is a condition specified by the government;
- The calculation of the employee’s pay is 100% of pay, up to $511 per day for the first three items above (the ones which have an asterisk). For those items above which do not have an asterisk, it is 2/3 of the employee’s pay up to $200 per day;
- There are exemptions for health care providers and emergency responders. Additionally, the Secretary of Labor MAY (but has not yet), provide exemptions for businesses with fewer than 50 employees under certain circumstances AND if compliance would jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern;
- Employers MUST post a notice of the availability of paid sick leave;
- This is above and beyond any other sick leave policy or law. In other words, if you already have a paid sick leave policy or you are subject to Nevada’s SB 312 paid time off, the federal law requires additional paid sick leave on top of that;
- Federal Reimbursement for payments made under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act.
- Quarterly refundable tax credits against the employer’s portion of social security taxes;
- Reimbursement for costs that exceed the taxes the employer would owe;
- The IRS will provide more guidance;
- The law takes effect April 2, 2020.
Essentially, what this means is that all employers will be obligated to provide paid sick leave, above whatever policies they may have, for effects of the Coronavirus on employees. The government will give credit or reimbursement.
EMERGENCY FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE EXPANSION ACT
- The law applies to all business with 1 – 500 employees;
- The law applies to all employees who have worked a minimum of 30 days before requiring leave;
- The law provides that employees shall receive twelve (12) weeks of paid protected leave (after the first ten days, which may be unpaid) if the employee cannot work or telework due to the need to care for a child under 18 if the child’s school or daycare is closed due to a public health emergency related to Coronavirus;
- The pay shall be 2/3 of the employee’s regular pay up to $200 per day;
- There are similar exemptions and federal reimbursements as the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act;
- Additionally, employers with more than 25 employees must restore the employee to his/her original position unless the position does not still exist due to economic conditions.
- The law takes effect April 2, 2020.
Essentially, now all employees are entitled to some protection under FMLA for conditions associated with caring for children whose schools are closed as a result of the Coronavirus.
I know this is a lot to take in. Please know that we will be updating information as it becomes available. Also, please know that Gordon Law remains available to answer any of your questions or concerns regarding your business in this time of uncertainty.