FMLA Expansion in COVID-19 Era Under The FFCRA

FFCRA-300x200The Family First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) includes an expansion of both the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA) and the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLEA).  The FFCRA is in part designed to combat negative effects of COVID-19 on the workforce.  The Act includes providing qualifying employers (under 500 employees) with certain incentives and tax credits to offset the cost of providing employee paid sick-leave for COVID-19 related reasons.

The US Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division is responsible for administering these portions of the FFCRA and is promulgating regulations to implement same to assist working families facing public health emergencies arising out of the pandemic.  The provisions are set to expire on December 31, 2020 and therefore the rules are (currently) effective starting April 1, 2020 through the end of the current year, 2020.

The Department, in addition to issuing rules and providing direction for administration of EPSLA (which requires certain employers provide up to 80 hours of paid sick leave under certain conditions), has stated the following qualifying conditions for assistance:

  • The employee, or someone the employee is caring for is subject to a government quarantine order or has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine;
  • The employee is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and is seeking medical attention; or,
  • The employee is caring for his or her son or daughter whose school or place of care is closed or whose childcare provider is unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19.

In addition, the Department provides direction for the effective administration of the EFMLEA (which requires certain employers provide up to 10 weeks of paid, and 2 weeks of unpaid, emergency assistance to eligible employees) for COVID-19 related reasons, including, for employees caring for son or daughter whose school or place of care is closed, or whose child care provider is unavailable due to the pandemic.

The US Department of Labor has more specifics regarding limitations, coverage, eligibility, duration of leave aspects, and pay calculations, listed here:  https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-employee-paid-leav

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