Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) Expanded to Provide Relief to Those Affected by COVID-19

“The Families First Coronavirus Response Act” (FFCRA), which goes into effect April 2, 2020 and expires December 31, 2020, responds to the coronavirus outbreak by providing additional assistance in the areas of COVID-19 testing, sick leave, food assistance, and more. We’ve compiled key details of FFCRA you need to know.

In summary, the Act:

  • Requires private insurance plans to provide free COVID-19 testing
  • Requires employers to provide emergency paid sick leave to workers affected by COVID-19 and expands family and medical leave.
  • Offers increased funding for state unemployment insurance, food stamp and nutritional programs.

More specifically, here’s what The Families First Coronavirus Response Act means for both business owners and employees in the areas of sick leave and expanded family and medical leave.

  • Employees are eligible for up to two weeks of sick leave (full pay for self, 2/3 pay for family care) for illness, quarantine or school closures.
  • Employees are eligible for up to 12 weeks of FMLA leave for school closures (10 days unpaid and then up to 10 weeks at 2/3 pay).
  • FMLA expansion covers:
    • Employers with fewer than 500 employees
    • Employees who have been employed for at least 30 calendar days (some exclusions may apply)
    • Employees who must care for children under the age of 18 in the event of school and place-of-care closures or if care provider is unavailable due to a public health emergency with respect to COVID-19.
  • Emergency paid sick leave covers:
    • Employers with fewer than 500 employees
    • All employees no matter the length of employment (some exclusions may apply)

Employer Emergency Paid Sick Leave and Family Medical Leave Credit

Paid sick leave credit. For an employee who is unable to work because of coronavirus quarantine or self-quarantine or has coronavirus symptoms and is seeking a medical diagnosis, eligible employers may receive a refundable sick leave credit for sick leave at the employee’s regular rate of pay, up to $511 per day and $5,110 in the aggregate, for a total of 10 days.

For an employee who is caring for someone with coronavirus, or is caring for a child because the child’s school or child care facility is closed, or the child care provider is unavailable due to the coronavirus, eligible employers may claim a credit for 2/3 of the employee’s regular rate of pay, up to $200 per day and $2,000 in the aggregate, for up to 10 days. Eligible employers are entitled to an additional tax credit determined based on costs to maintain health insurance coverage for the eligible employee during the leave period.

Child care leave credit. In addition to the sick leave credit, for an employee who is unable to work because of a need to care for a child whose school or child care facility is closed or whose child care provider is unavailable due to the coronavirus, eligible employers may receive a refundable child care leave credit. This credit is equal to 2/3 of the employee’s regular pay, capped at $200 per day or $10,000 in the aggregate. Up to 10 weeks of qualifying leave can be counted towards the child care leave credit. Eligible employers ar entitled to an additional tax credit determined based on costs to maintain health insurance coverage for the eligible employee during the leave period.

The Coronavirus situation is changing rapidly, as are the updates to various relief efforts. We will continue to monitor news and keep you updated as clarification is provided.

If you have questions, be sure to reach out to us. Our entire team is here to support and guide you!