BY: Tad T. Roumayah | IN: COVID-19, Employment Law
Passed by Congress as H.R. 6201 and signed into law by President Trump, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) is part of a series of bipartisan bills to combat the economic and other effects of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The statute – effective from April 2, 2020, through December 31, 2020 – provides emergency paid leave to workers at companies that employ 500 or fewer people.
The law includes two key provisions that impact both employees and employers: the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act and the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act. Below is a summary of both of these provisions.
Employees may take up to 12 weeks of leave to care for a son or daughter under 18 years of age if the child’s school or place of care has been closed, or the childcare provider of such son or daughter is unavailable, due to a “public health emergency,” which is defined as a COVID-19 related state of emergency declared by a federal, state, or local authority.
The first ten days of leave may consist of unpaid leave. However, an employee may elect to substitute any accrued vacation leave, personal leave, or medical or sick leave for this unpaid leave period. After the ten days of unpaid leave, an employer must provide paid leave for each day of leave that is not less than 2/3 of an employee’s regular rate of pay, up to $200 per day, and $10,000 total.
Generally, employees are entitled to restoration to their jobs after taking leave. However, an employer who employs fewer than 25 employees does not have to restore the employee to his or her job if these conditions are met:
Employers of health care providers and emergency responders may elect to exclude employees from the public health emergency provisions of the FFCRA.
An employer must provide to each employee two weeks of paid sick leave if the employee is unable to work (or telework) due to a need for leave because:
For employees subject to a quarantine or isolation order, have been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine, or are experiencing symptoms related to COVID-19 and are seeking a medical diagnosis, paid sick leave shall not exceed $511 per day and $5,110 total.
For employees caring for another individual, a child, or who are experiencing substantially similar conditions specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, paid sick leave shall not exceed $200 per day and $2,000 total.
The paid sick leave shall be available for immediate use by an eligible employee, regardless of how long the employee has been employed by the employer.
An employer may not require, as a condition of providing sick leave, that an employee search for or find a replacement employee to cover his or her hours during which the employee is using paid sick leave.
An employer may not require an employee to use other paid leave provided by the employer before an employee may use the paid sick leave under this section.
Employers must post and keep posted on its premises a notice of the requirements described in the FFRA.
It is illegal for any employer to discharge, discipline, or in any other manner discriminate against any employee who:
A good employment lawyer will not only represent you but also work with you to understand and reduce the stress of navigating your employee rights, especially during these extraordinary times brought on by the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
If you suspect an employer is violating the Families First Coronavirus Response Act or other federal and labor laws, contact us today We’ll help you evaluate your claim, assess your options, and pursue the compensation you deserve.
View all posts byTad T. Roumayah
Tad Roumayah focuses his practice primarily on employment litigation, representing employees who have encountered discrimination, retaliation, wrongful discharge, whistleblower protection claims, wage and hour violations and other employment issues and disputes.