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COVID-19 Paid Leave

DATE: October 19th, 2020

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA or Act) requires certain employers to provide their employees with paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. The Department of Labor’s (Department) Wage and Hour Division (WHD) administers and enforces the new law’s paid leave requirements. These provisions will apply from the effective date through December 31, 2020. 

Paid Leave COVID 19

Qualifying Reasons for Taking COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave: 

– The worker is subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19. 

– The worker is advised by a healthcare provider to self- quarantine or self-isolate due to COVID-19 related concerns. 

– The worker is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and is seeking a medical diagnosis. 

– The worker is caring for an individual subject to an order described in (1) or self-quarantine as described in (2); 

– The worker is caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed (or child care provider is unavailable) for reasons related to COVID-19; or 

– The worker is experiencing any other substantially-similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the Secretaries of Labor and Treasury. 

Duration of Leave: 

For reasons (1)-(4) and (6): A full-time employee is eligible for up to 80 hours of leave, and a part-time employee is eligible for the number of hours of leave that the employee works on average over a two-week period. 

For reason (5): A full-time employee is eligible for up to 12 weeks of leave at 40 hours a week, and a part-time employee is eligible for leave for the number of hours that the employee is normally scheduled to work over that period. 

Calculation of Pay: 

For leave reasons (1), (2), or (3): employees taking leave shall be paid at either their regular rate or the applicable minimum wage, whichever is higher, up to $511 per day and $5,110 in the aggregate (over a 2-week period). 

For leave reasons (4) or (6): employees taking leave shall be paid at 2/3 their regular rate or 2/3 the applicable minimum wage, whichever is higher, up to $200 per day and $2,000 in the aggregate (over a 2-week period). 

For leave reason (5): employees taking leave shall be paid at 2/3 their regular rate or 2/3 the applicable minimum wage, whichever is higher, up to $200 per day and $12,000 in the aggregate (over a 12-week period—two weeks of paid sick leave followed by up to 10 weeks of paid expanded family and medical leave).[6] 

Small businesses with fewer than 50 employees may qualify for exemption from the requirement to provide leave due to school closings or child care unavailability if the leave requirements would jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern. 

Penalties and Enforcement:  

Employers in violation of the first two weeks’ paid sick time or unlawful termination provisions of the FFCRA will be subject to the penalties and enforcement described in Sections 16 and 17 of the Fair Labor Standards Act. 29 U.S.C. 216; 217. Employers in violation of the provisions providing for up to an additional 10 weeks of paid leave to care for a child whose school or place of care is closed (or child care provider is unavailable) are subject to the enforcement provisions of the Family and Medical Leave Act.  

The Department will observe a temporary period of non-enforcement for the first 30 days after the Act takes effect, so long as the employer has acted reasonably and in good faith to comply with the Act.  For purposes of this non-enforcement position, “good faith” exists when violations are remedied and the employee is made whole as soon as practicable by the employer, the violations were not willful, and the Department receives a written commitment from the employer to comply with the Act in the future. 

Required FFCRA Documentation, Recordkeeping for New Federal Paid Leave (COVID-19) 

The new FFCRA regulations require employees to provide notice to their employers of their need to take either paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave, and the notice must include the following information: 

– Employee’s name; 

– Date(s) for which leave is requested;

Qualifying reason for the leave; and

Oral or written statement that the employee is unable to work because of the qualified reason. 

Employees must also provide additional information specific to the qualifying reason for leave. Find the details of Notification Requirements here. And FAQ’s for here. 

Access additional COVID-19-related blogs. 

Please note that during this time of crisis, the updates, advisories and regulations that we receive from the promulgating agency often contain ambiguities and/or are often amended, modified or updated. The statements/opinions expressed herein is not legal advice. The opinions expressed herein are based on our reasonable interpretation of the issuing agency’s publication at the time the opinion is expressed and is therefore subject to change based on further developments. The effect of the opinions expressed may be different based on your particular circumstances, and it is recommended that you not rely upon these general opinions prior to obtaining a consultation with your legal and/or financial advisors.