What Is the Families First Coronavirus Act and When Will It Take Effect?

Freya Allen Shoffner, Esquire featured Professional Speaker, Presenter, Professor.
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Thursday, March 19, 2020

Last evening, President Trump signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. This is a new law that is designed provide relief to workers and families during the COVID-19 outbreak. The Act applies to employers who have up to 500 employees, and it doesn’t matter how few employees the business has.

Under the new law, affected, eligible, full-time employees can receive up to two working-weeks (10 days) of paid sick leave for COVID-19 related reasons. 100% of the employers’ costs will be offset for providing this mandated paid sick leave.

According to The National Law Review, there are six qualifying reasons for coverage:

  1. The employee is subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order related to Covid-19;

  2. the employee has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to Covid-19;

  3. the employee is experiencing symptoms of Covid-19 and seeking medical diagnosis;

  4. the employee is caring for an individual who is subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine order, or the individual has been advised to self-quarantine due to concerns related to Covid-19;

  5. the employee is caring for the employee’s son or daughter, if the child’s school or child-care facility has been closed or the child’s care provider is unavailable due to Covid-19 precautions; or

  6. the employee is experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by Health and Human Services in consultation with the Department of the Treasury and the Department of Labor.

The Act Provides These Benefits for Employees

  • Normal FMLA is unpaid, but under the FFCRA, employees who are on sick leave because they are sick can receive their full pay, up to $511 per day, or $5,110 total.

  • Leave taken to care for children whose schools or day care facilities have closed is paid at two-thirds the employee’s regular rate of pay, with a maximum of $200 per day or $10,000 total.

  • Employers cannot force you to use up your vacation or other sick time before receiving this benefit.

  • There is a 10-day waiting period before this benefit applies. Employees can use existing sick or vacation time to cover these days.

And, There Are Some Benefits for Employers

  • Employers receive tax credits for 100 percent of what they pay out to employees, with the above-noted limits.

  • For employers with 50 or fewer employees, the Secretary of Labor can exempt the business from these requirements.

  • Employers with fewer than 25 employees do not have to restore employees to their previous positions.

The Act goes into effect 15 days from the date it was signed. Don’t delay, find out the right way to take care of your employees. Now.