The federal government recently enacted the
Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA),
which went into effect April 1, 2020. The FFCRA notably contains (1)
federal paid sick leave and (2) reduced-pay, job-protected FMLA-expansion
The good news for employers is that they may
be eligible to receive a dollar-for-dollar tax credit at the end of the year
against social security/payroll taxes paid or a refund if their taxes-paid
amount is less than the amount of employee benefits paid pursuant to the FFCRA.
Paid Sick Leave Pursuant to the FFCRA
The "nuts and
bolts" of the federal paid sick leave component of the FFCRA are as follows:
Covered Employers: Covered employers include employers with 500 or fewer
Duration of Leave: Full-time employees
may receive up to 80 hours of pay, while part-time employees may receive the
equivalent of the average number of hours they work in two weeks.
Permissible Use: The FFCRA provides the following six reasons for
1. Employee is subjected to a
federal, state or local quarantine due to COVID-19.
2. Employee has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine.
3. Employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking medical
4. Employee is caring for an individual
because of #1 or #2 above.
5. Employee must care for
a child whose school or care provider is closed due to COVID.
6. Employee is experiencing a similar condition as specified by Health and
Human Services, DOL or Treasury.
Employers should also be mindful of
the FMLA-expansion component of the FFCRA. This part of the new law amends
the FMLA to provide protections to any employee that has been employed with
the employer for 30 days. This FMLA-expansion component is only available to
an employee who is unable to work due to a need to care for the employee's
children whose schools have closed due to COVID-19 and who do not have other
The first two weeks of the leave
are unpaid (though they may be compensable under the paid sick leave
component above), and the remaining ten weeks are paid at two-thirds of the
employee's regular wages up to a cap of $200/day and $10,000 in the
Required Notice to Employees
Employers should begin taking steps towards fulfilling the notice
obligations expressly set forth in the FFCRA as follows:
"Each employer shall post and keep posted in conspicuous places on the
premises of the employer where notices to employees to employees are
customarily posted, a notice, to be prepared or approved by the Secretary of
Posting the required notices in a common
area, such as a lunch room, will comply with the requirements of FFCRA. If
you have a mobile workforce that does not work at a specific facility, or
one that is currently teleworking, the
guidance makes clear that "an
employer may satisfy this requirement by emailing or direct mailing this
notice to the employees, or posting notice on an employee information
internal or external website." The key is to show good faith efforts towards
compliance. We do not recommend the use of mail, as it does not provide the
same record employers would otherwise benefit from through the use of email
or by posting on their web page.
Here is the model
notice provided by the Department of Labor applicable to private employers:
Employee Rights: Paid Sick Leave and Expanded Family and Medical Leave
the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)
Employers should act now before the FFCRA becomes effective. We encourage
employers to reach out to their local counsel for guidance on drafting
appropriate policies and developing game plans to comply with the FFCRA's
 The express language of the FFCRA
provides that the effective date of the FFCRA is 15 days from signature by
the President. This would have made the FFCRA effective April 2. However,
guidance from the DOL states the FFCRA is effective as of April 1.
Therefore, it's safest to assume the FFCRA is effective April 1.
 This is currently broadly written.