There are two sections to the Families First Act that are important for employers to know:
- The Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act
- The Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act
- Up to 80 hours (2 weeks) of paid sick leave at the employee’s regular pay rate in cases where the employee is unable to work due to being quarantined (as mandated by Federal, State or local government, or through the advice of a health care provider), and/or experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis. All employees of covered employers are eligible.
- Up to 80 hours (2 weeks) of paid sick leave at two-thirds of the employee’s regular pay rate if the employee is unable to work due to a bona fide need to care for an individual under quarantine, or to care for a child under 18 years of age in the case where the school or child care provider is closed or unavailable for COVID-19-related reasons, and/or the employee is experiencing a condition substantially like the coronavirus as specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the Secretaries of the Treasury and Labor. All employees of covered employers are eligible.
- Up to an additional 10 weeks of paid expanded family and medical leave at two-thirds the employee’s regular pay rate in the case where an employee, under employment for at least 30 calendar days, is unable to work for a bona fide need to leave to care for a child whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19.
The initial 10 days of leave may be unpaid, or an employee can choose to use accrued vacation, medical or personal leave, but once the initial 10 days has passed, the employer must provide paid leave for the remainder of the time away from work at two-thirds of the employee’s regular pay rate.
Who is a Covered Employer Under the Families First Act?
The provisions of the Families First Act apply to private employers with fewer than 500 employees and certain public employers. Most Federal government employees are covered by Title II of the Family and Medical Leave Act, which was not amended by this Act. Therefore, they are not covered by the expanded family and medical leave provisions laid out above. They are, however, covered by the paid sick leave provision.
Small businesses that have fewer than 50 employees may qualify for exemption from these requirements to provide leave due to school closings or child care unavailability if the leave would jeopardize the business’s ability to remain in business.
Employers will also be provided with a refundable tax credit against payroll taxes, per quarter, for the total amount of sick leave pay.
Read the Full Report: Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Employee Paid Leave Rights
Valid Reasons to Qualify for Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act Benefits
An employee qualifies for paid sick time if he or she is unable to work or telework due to a need to leave for any of these COVID-19-related reasons. The employee is:
- Subject to a Federal, State or local quarantine or COVID-19-related isolation order
- Advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine
- Experiencing coronavirus symptoms and is seeking a medical diagnosis
- Caring for an individual as described above, or in self-quarantine
- Caring for a child whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable
- Experiencing conditions similar to coronavirus symptoms.
Contact Benefit Providers/ECCA Payroll Services
If you have questions about your role as an employer, or need assistance navigating the Families First Act, contact Benefit Providers/ECCA Payroll Services. We provide benefits administration and HR services for employers located throughout the Washington D.C. metropolitan area. Contact us at 703-370-2226.