A New Federal Law Grants Employee Leave Related to COVID-19

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) requires certain employers to provide their employees with paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19.  The U.S. Department of Labor also requires employers to post this notice in a conspicuous place at its business.  These provisions apply from April 1, 2020 through December 21, 2020.

The FFCRA applies to employees unable to work, and telework, if the employee:

  1. is subject to a governmental quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19;
  2. has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine related to COVID-19;
  3. is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and is seeking a medical diagnosis;
  4. is caring for an individual subject to an order described in 1 or self-quarantine as described in 2;
  5. is caring for his or her child whose school or place of care is closed (or childcare provider is unavailable) due to COVID-19 related reasons; or
  6. is experiencing any other substantially-similar condition specified by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The FFCRA allows employees up to two weeks of paid sick leave at rates depending on the reason for the leave.  For example, for reasons 1-3 above, employees are entitled to 100 percent up to $511 daily and $5,110 total. For reasons 4 and 6, employees are entitled to two-thirds, up to $200 daily and $2,000 total.  For reason 5, employees are allowed up to 12 weeks of paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave paid at two-thirds for up to $200 daily and $12,000 total.

The Act prohibits employment discrimination and retaliation against an employee who takes leave under the Act, files a complaint, or institutes a proceeding under or related to the Act.  Compliance with the FFCRA will be enforced by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division.

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