COVID-19 Update: Families First Coronavirus Response Act Takes Effect April 2, 2020

March 19, 2020 - Pierce T. MacLennan

In follow up on this issue, late yesterday the Senate passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which President Trump signed last night and will become effective April 2, 2020. The below is a general summary and is not intended to be entirely comprehensive. 

Tax credits are available to employers paying out monies as described below, which are also not summarized. We will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates, including an HSB-hosted webinar on Tuesday, March 24 (details and registration link below).

Key Takeaways on the Act Below

  • Expanded Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) Leave
    • Applies to all companies with less than 500 employees. The Secretary of Labor has the ability to exempt small businesses of less than 50 employees if the required leave would jeopardize the viability of the business. This last portion remains uncertain at this time.
    • Employee must have worked for the company for at least 30 days.
    • Twelve weeks of job-protected leave for a worker that cannot work or telework because the employee has to care for a child if the child’s school or childcare facility is closed. This is the only qualifying reason.
    • First ten days may be unpaid, then must pay 2/3 of the regular rate for hours normally scheduled to work (maximum $200 per day and $10,000 total for employee).
    • Employers with fewer than 25 employees are generally excluded from the requirement to restore an employee to their previous position if the position no longer exists due to Coronavirus-related circumstances.
       
  • Emergency Paid Sick Leave
    • Applies to all companies with less than 500 employees.
    • Eighty hours of paid sick leave paid at the employee’s full rate, or 2/3 of their regular rate if they fall under reasons 4, 5, or 6 below. Eligible reasons are:
      1. Subject to a federal, state or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19;
      2. Advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to COVID-19 concerns;
      3. Experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking medical diagnosis;
      4. Caring for an individual (does not have to be a family member) subject to quarantine or isolation or are advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to COVID-19 concerns;
      5. Caring for the employee’s child if the child’s school or place of care is closed or the child’s care provider is unavailable due to a public health emergency; or
      6. 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.
    • Limited to $511 per day and $5,110 total per employee for own use, $2,000 total to care for others and any other substantially similar condition.

WEBINAR REGISTRATION
Chris Gantt-Sorenson and Perry MacLennan will host a webinar to address this Act and COVID-19 responses on March 24, from 10:00 – 11:00 AM. Please click here to register for this webinar.

For additional resources on COVID-19, please access HSB’s resource page.

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