Throughout the chaos and unease of the COVID-19 pandemic, questions abound. Employers and employees, specifically, have many FFCRA questions. According to the Department of Labor, here are some of the answers to the most common FFCRA questions.
What is FFCRA?
The FFCRA, also known as the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, is a law that took effect on April 1, 2020. The FFCRA requires certain employers to provide employees with paid sick leave under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSL) or expanded paid family and medical leave under the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (expanded FMLA) for several reasons related to COVID-19.
What does the FFCRA provide?
The FFCRA provides that employees of covered employers are eligible for one of the following:
- Two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick leave at the employee’s regular rate of pay where the employee is (1) unable to work or telework because the employee is quarantined (due to a federal, state, or local government order or the advice of a health care provider) and/or (2) experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis; or
- Two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick leave at two-thirds the employee’s regular rate of pay where the employee is (1) unable to work or telework while caring for an individual subject to quarantine (due to a federal, state, or local government order or the advice of a health care provider), (2) unable to work or telework because of a need to care for a child (either a minor child under 18 years of age or an adult child who has a mental or physical disability and is incapable of self-care because of that disability) whose school or child care provider is closed for reasons related to COVID-19, and/or (3) experiencing a substantially similar condition as specified by the secretary of health and human services, in consultation with the secretaries of the treasury and labor; and
- Up to an additional 10 weeks of paid expanded family and medical leave at two-thirds the employee’s regular rate of pay where an employee who has been employed for at least 30 calendar days is unable to work or telework due to a need to care for a child whose school or child care provider is closed for reasons related to COVID-19.
Do “health care providers” qualify for paid sick leave and/or expanded family and medical leave?
Anyone employed by virtually any type of health care provider may be exempted from the paid leave provisions.
Are public-sector employees are entitled to paid sick leave?
Most of the time. Employees of a public agency, and employees of a unit of government such as the United States, a state, a city, a parish, or a similar government entity, are likely entitled to paid sick leave. Federal employees are encouraged to seek guidance from their respective employers as to eligibility.
Are public-sector employees are entitled to expanded FMLA?
Sometimes. It depends on the circumstances. Generally, employees of a non-federal public agency are entitled to expanded FMLA. Again, federal employees are encouraged to seek guidance from their respective employers as to eligibility.
My business has fewer than 50 employees. Do I have to provide paid sick leave or expanded FMLA?
Possibly… A small business is exempt from providing mandated paid sick leave or expanded FMLA in cases where the following conditions are true:
- The employer employs fewer than 50 employees.
- The leave is requested because the child’s school or place of care is closed, or the childcare provider is unavailable, due to reasons related to COVID-19.
- An authorized officer of the business has determined one of the following conditions is satisfied:
- The provision of paid sick le