Clarifications of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act

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Clarifications of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act

In an effort to keep you updated on how the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact your business, we’re reaching out to share some clarifying details of the recently enacted Families First Coronavirus Response Act – specifically regarding the employer paid leave requirements.

Although the Department of Labor has announced a temporary period of non-enforcement for the first 30 days of the Act, we recommend following these new requirements as soon as possible prior to the April 2nd effective date.

The basic requirements of the Act are summarized in our recent article here. Clarifications are listed below:

  • Employers under 50 cannot exempt themselves from Paid Sick Leave; they must be granted the exemption from the Secretary of Labor
  • Employees shall not be required to use PTO or accrued vacation before they use paid sick time
  • If an employee is laid off before the April 2nd effective date, those employees are not eligible for paid FMLA or sick leave benefits
  • The 80-hour paid sick leave is in addition to existing employer paid leave
  • To calculate leave pay for an employee whose schedule varies from week to week, use an average number of scheduled hours over the 6-month period prior to the leave date
  • If an employee did not work over the past 6 months, use a reasonable expectation of the average number of hours per day that the employee would normally be scheduled to work
  • If an employer in ordered to close their business due to COVID-19, they are still expected to pay sick leave benefits
  • If an employer closes due to not receiving enough business to stay open, the expanded FMLA and PSL do not apply
  • For an employee who was already scheduled to go on regular FMLA but is also covered under expanded FMLA, the amount of leave should not exceed 12 weeks
  • Employees whose health is considered “high risk” and who decide to self-isolate are not covered unless they are ordered to quarantine by a health provider
  • Employees who are legal guardians are not covered; they must be parents to be covered
  • Failure to comply with the eFMLA and PSL requirements will result in a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act and will be subject to penalties

As always, please reach out to your Synergy representative if you have any questions or concerns.