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Apr

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2020

How Does the Families First Coronavirus Response Act Affect Employers?

A new law has been passed to assist employees affected by the COVID-19 virus. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) requires covered employers to provide employees with paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to the virus. Here, Ashley Kaplan, Poster Guard’s Senior Labor Law Attorney, answers questions about the regulations and employer requirements.

Q: When does the FFCRA take effect?
A:
The law took effect on April 1, 2020 and the provisions will apply until December 31, 2020.

Q: Who does it apply to?
A:
The paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave provisions of the FFCRA apply to certain public employers, and private employers with fewer than 500 employees. Small businesses with fewer than 50 employees may qualify for exemption from the requirement to provide leave due to school closings or childcare unavailability – if the leave requirements would jeopardize the viability of the business.

Q: What are qualifying reasons for paid leave?
A: 
Under the FFCRA, an employee qualifies for paid leave if the employee is unable to work (or unable to telework) due to a need for leave because he or she:

  • Is under a federal, state or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19 – or is caring for an individual who is under a similar order
  • Has been advised by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine related to COVID-19 – or is caring for an individual who has similarly been instructed
  • Is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and is seeking a medical diagnosis
  • Is caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed (or childcare provider is unavailable) for reasons related to COVID-19
  • Is experiencing any other similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services

Q: Is the amount of leave or payment calculation different for different qualifying reasons?
A:
Yes. Generally, the Act provides that eligible full-time employees of covered employers are entitled to:

  • Two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid leave at the employee’s regular rate of pay (or the applicable minimum wage, whichever is higher) where the employee is unable to work because the employee is quarantined (because of a federal, state or local government order or advice of a healthcare provider), and/or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis; or
  • Two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid leave at two-thirds the employee’s regular rate of pay (or the applicable minimum wage, whichever is higher) because the employee is unable to work because of a need to care for an individual subject to quarantine because of a federal, state or local government order or advice of a healthcare provider; or the employee is experiencing any other similar condition that may arise, as specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services; or
  • Up to 12 weeks of paid leave at two-thirds the employee’s regular rate of pay (or applicable minimum wage, whichever is higher) where an employee, who has been employed for at least 30 calendar days, is unable to work due to a need for leave to care for a child whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19.

Q: Is there a mandatory posting requirement?
A:
Yes. Under the Act, all private employers with fewer than 500 employees, plus certain public employers, must immediately display a new federal workplace posting. The posting requirement may be satisfied by mailing or emailing the poster to employees, or posting it on an employee website. The notice also must be distributed to all new hires.

Q: What does the poster address?
A: 
The poster summarizes the new emergency paid sick leave and expand family and medical leave law and explains the circumstances under which employees qualify for immediate paid leave due to the COVID-19 emergency.

Maintain Posting Compliance

The new FFCRA posting is available now. For complete compliance, consider Poster Guard® Compliance Protection to get your business up to date with all required federal, state and local labor law postings. The service also includes the new federal workplace posting related to the new Act

To maintain labor law posting compliance during this time when many employees are working from home, consider giving them access to mandatory notices on your corporate intranet or employee web portal. With Poster Guard Intranet Licensing Service, employees simply click a secure link on your site and select their location to view applicable federal, state and city postings.

DISCLAIMER: While we make every effort to provide the most accurate, up-to-date information at the time of publication, employment laws are constantly changing, and this material is subject to change.

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