On March 18, 2020, President Trump signed into law the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), H.R. 6201, an emergency measure that directly imposes upon smaller employers both paid family leave and new paid sick leave obligations. After originating in the House late last week, the bill quickly passed both chambers of Congress and gained the White House’s approval. The measure will have a major impact on employers with fewer than 500 employees. Now that the legislation has been signed into law, its provisions become effective no later than 15 days after the Act is enacted and expire on December 31, 2020. Employers need to act swiftly to amend policies and train employees to ensure that employee leaves are administered in accordance with the new law.
The emergency paid sick leave is available for employees who are unable to work (or telework) due to: (1) a governmental quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19; (2) advice from a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19; (3) the employee experiencing symptoms of coronavirus and seeking a medical diagnosis; (4) a need to care for or assist an individual who is subject to categories (1) or (2) above; (5) a need to care for a child whose school or place of childcare is closed or unavailable due to coronavirus; or (6) the employee is experiencing any other similar condition to be specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services.
As to the Emergency Paid Sick Leave, it is important for employers to be aware of the following provisions:
Private-sector employers with fewer than 500 workers, along with governmental entities, will have to provide up to 12 weeks of FMLA leave for employees who have been on the job for at least 30 days, and who are unable to work or telework because they have to care for a minor child if the child’s school or place of care has been closed, or if the child care provider of that child is unavailable due to a coronavirus emergency. An employer of an employee who is a health care provider or an emergency responder may elect to exclude the employee from the emergency family leave provisions.
Employers should be aware of the following provisions of the Emergency Family Leave:
The full text of the Act can be found here.
The Coblentz Employment team will continue to monitor this legislation and provide necessary updates. For further information or questions, contact any of our Employment lawyers: Fred Alvarez (firstname.lastname@example.org), Stephen Lanctot (email@example.com), Kenneth Nabity (firstname.lastname@example.org), and Hannah Jones (email@example.com).