Ward Law LLC is dedicated to keeping our clients informed about all things COVID-19 related. Our business is to ensure that you have all the information you need to keep your business going. In that regard, please read below for updates on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.
On March 18, President Trump signed into law the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“The Act”). The Act contains changes to the FMLA and also includes Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act. It changes the analysis for private employers who employ fewer than 500 employees or public employers, excepting healthcare providers and emergency responders.
In the short term, under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act, these employers are required to provide emergency paid sick leave, in addition to any other sick leave or paid leave benefits, to full-time employees in an amount equal to 80 hours at their regular rate of pay. For part-time hourly employees, they would receive an amount which covers the hours an employee normally would have worked during a two-week period. These benefits are capped at $511 per day, and benefits are payable for 10 days. COVID-19 related situations where paid emergency sick leave applies are: an employee is subject to governmentally-mandated quarantine, an employee has been advised by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine due to coronavirus concerns, or the employee is experiencing coronavirus symptoms and is seeking a diagnosis. If an employee is caring for an individual who is subject to a governmentally-mandated quarantine or has been advised by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine, is caring for a child whose school or care provider is closed or unavailable due to coronavirus precautions, or is experiencing any other condition substantially similar to the coronavirus, as specified by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, then the rate of emergency sick leave compensation is reduced to two-thirds their rate of pay, not to exceed $200 per day.
Long term leave falls under the FMLA and is more restrictive than emergency paid leave. To be eligible for paid leave, the employee must have been an employee for at least 30 days. More importantly, the Act only provides leave for an employee unable to work or telework due to the need to care for a child if the school or childcare provider of the child is closed or unavailable due to a public health emergency. The first 10 days of this leave are without pay, but then leave is paid for up to 10 weeks at a rate of two-thirds of an employee’s normal compensation. This compensation is capped at $200 per day.