The Federal Emergency Family and Medical Leave provides employees up to an additional 12 weeks of job-protected leave who are unable to work due to a need for leave to care for a child or is unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19.
The Department of Labor’s (Department) Wage and Hour Division (WHD) administers and enforces the new law’s paid leave requirements.
Description of Federal Emergency Family and Medical Leave
The federal Emergency Family and Medical Leave, of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, provides employees of up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave for those who are unable to work due to a need for leave to care for a child whose school is closed or child care provider is unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19. This act covers private employers with fewer than 500 employees and most government employers (some federal workers are excluded). It does not cover private employers with 500 or more employees. The Act became effective April 1, 2020 and is currently available through December 31, 2020.
Pay must be equal to at least two-thirds of regular pay, but employers do not have to pay more than $200/day and $10,000 total per employee. Employers are not required to pay during the first 10 days of leave; thus, an employee should use Paid Sick Leave to cover this time period.
Employers are required to provide workers with the group health coverage the employer offered, if any, and if the employee had elected to enroll in such insurance.
For additional information visit: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/fmla/pandemic.
Qualifying for Federal Emergency Family and Medical Leave
- Full or part-time workers who are unable to work or work remotely due to a bona fide need for leave because the employee is caring for their child, if their school or day care has been closed, or the childcare provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19, and
- Must have been on the payroll for 30 days to be covered.
Note 1: There are no immigration status-related restrictions on eligibility.
Note 2: If the employee’s workplace closed or if the worker has been furloughed, they are not eligible for this benefit. They ay be eligible for traditional Unemployment Insurance benefits or the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefit, refer to COVID-19, Expansion of Unemployment Insurance.
EMPLOYER EXEMPTIONS FROM THE LAW
The U.S. Department of Labor may exempt businesses with fewer than 50 employers if the sick leave payments “would jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern,” that is, the company fears it would be driven out of business. Such businesses can claim a small business exemption.
All business covered by this law are required to post the following Employee Rights notice: https://www.dol.gov/sites/dolgov/files/WHD/posters/FFCRA_Poster_WH1422_Non-Federal.pdf. Employers may satisfy the notice requirements of the law by emailing or direct mailing the notice to employees, or posting the notice on an employee information internal or external website.
It provides refundable tax credit against payroll taxes owed by employers to cover 100% of the cost of required leave.
To file a complaint visit: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/workers#complaint.
Coordination of Federal Emergency Paid Sick Leave & Federal Emergency Family and Medical Leave
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act requires certain employers to provide employees with paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. These provisions will apply from the effective date through December 31, 2020.
- Two weeks of paid sick leave when the employee is unable to work because the employee is quarantined and/or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
- Two week of paid sick leave at 2/3 the employee’s regular rate of pay because the employee is unable to work because of the need to care for an individual subject to quarantine or to care for a child (under 18) whose school or child care provide is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19.
- An additional 10 weeks of paid family and medical leave at 2/3 of the employee’s regular rate of pay where an employee is unable to work due to a bona fide need for leave to care for a child whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19.