In response to the spread of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), President Trump signed the Family First Coronavirus Response Act (Act) on March 18, 2020. The Act is an economic stimulus plan that affects coverage and cost sharing for COVID-19 testing and provides expanded federal family and medical leave and a new federal paid sick leave law. The Act also addresses other issues such as coverage and cost sharing for COVID-19 testing under Medicare and Medicaid, emergency grants to states for unemployment insurance, tax credits for paid sick and paid family and medical leave, and federal funding for various programs.
Which Employers must comply with this act?
Employers with less than 500 Employees will have to comply with the law, including the Emergency FMLA section even if they don’t have to comply with traditional FMLA. Employers that have not had to comply with FMLA in the past will only have to comply with this section.
When does this act to into effect?
The provisions regarding this act take effect on April 2, 2020 and will be in effect until December 31, 2020
What are the main features of the Act? Please see full document for details. Link below.
Coverage for Testing – Group health plans must provide coverage with no cost for diagnosis of COVID-19
Emergency Family and Medical Leave – Provide FMLA for employees that are unable to work due to a need to care for the employee’s son or daughter under 18 due to diagnosis of COVID-19. After 10 days, the leave will be paid at 2/3rd pay up to $200 per day max $10,000
Emergency Paid Sick Leave – requires employers to provide paid leave up to 2 weeks (80 hours for full time) due to employees inability to work due to quarantine (State, Federal, Local or Health care provider), Diagnosis of COVID-19, caring for sick son, daughter or individual with COVID-19.
Employers cannot require an employee to use other paid leave provided by the employer before the employee uses the paid sick leave.
Please see complete document for details. This is just a summary and not legal advice
Are there any notices that Employers will need to distribute?
Employers must post a notice provided by the DOL on the premises where notices to employees are generally posted. The notice will be provided by the DOL no later than March 25, 2020.
Can employers have exemptions on any part of this act?
There are sections that employers with less than 50 employees, and 25 employees can request exemptions if it places a burden on the company. Please refer to Question 58 & 59 on on the DOL FAQ website: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-questions#58
What if my company is close to 25 or 50 employees? How is the number of employees counted?
Question 2 of the DOL FAQ may give some direction here. You will consider Full-time, Part-time, Temporary and Leave employees that reside in any State in the U.S., District of Columbia, any Territory or possession of the U.S. Employers should consult with an attorney regarding this issue. Also, Employers should think about potential retaliation issues if an employee sues the employer for trying to avoid complying with the new law.
TAX CREDIT: For information about the Tax Credit, how it is calculated, and your obligations associated with it, please consult your tax professional or payroll provider
See Resource Page on my blog for additional CARES, FFCRA and PPP Loan information:
Need more information? Click below for complete document:
Department of Labor Website: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-employer-paid-leave
Please consult your attorney before taking any action. This is not intended to be legal advice.