The paid leave provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) went into effect on April 1, 2020, and apply to leave taken between April 1, 2020, and December 31, 2020. Various states and counties have also introduced their own regulations on the local level, and it is advised you cross reference with those as well.
The FFCRA contains two key provisions for employers: (1) the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLEA) and (2) the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA).
Under the two provisions, the following individuals are entitled to paid leave for reasons related to COVID-19:
Public and private employers with fewer than 500 employees (all working in the United States, including the District of Columbia and U.S. territories) must provide the following:
Businesses will be repaid for the expenses to cover FFCRA leaves through federal tax credits.
Employers with fewer than 50 employees may be exempt from providing leave under both FFCRA provisions. If doing so, even with the tax credit, would jeopardize the viability of the business as an ongoing concern.
They must document the process by which they determined to opt for the small business exemption and must keep supporting records on file for 4 years, without necessarily providing this documentation to the DOL.
Businesses that are not subject to the FFCRA because of their size or owing to other factors may still choose to compensate quarantined employees. However, they must carefully weigh the pros of doing so against the cons. These include the following:
Employers opting to pay quarantined workers must limit their liability by clarifying key points such as the following:
Employers who choose to pay quarantined employees at less than their regular rate must comply with minimum-wage rules and threshold-pay requirements for exemption.
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This article provides general information and shouldn’t be construed as legal or HR advice. Since employment laws may change over time and can vary by location and industry, please consult a lawyer or HR expert for advice specific to your business. You can also contact Payroll Systems to inquire about our HR support services.