The Families First Coronavirus Response Act was passed by Congress to provide a way for employees to receive payment during the coronavirus pandemic shut-down. It was written quickly, and frankly, there are still questions about some of the provisions and a lack of clarity in a number of places. It is quite complex, but briefly, there are two main parts to the Act which affect employers and employees. The Act applies to employers of less than 500 employees, but is only applicable from April 1 through December 31 of 2020. Certain exemptions apply to employers with fewer than 50 employees and other exemptions for employers with fewer than 25 employees. The first part is an expansion of existing law (FMLA). It only applies after the first 10 business days off and can extend up to 12 weeks. The second part requires 2 weeks (80 hours) paid leave. A tax credit equaling 100% of the cost of qualified leave is available to employers.
Employers are required to give a prescribed notice of the employees’ rights under the Act by either posting in the workplace or an internal website, or emailing a copy to employees.
Employees may qualify for these benefits if they must care for themselves or another; the employee is a vulnerable person (such as elderly, having preexisting conditions, etc); the employee is sick with symptoms or awaiting a diagnosis; caring for another who is quarantined; or providing childcare and there is not another suitable person who can do so.
The employee must give notice to the employer after the first day off. Notice can be oral and from another family member, but must provide enough information for the employer to determine eligibility. However, it would be wise for the employee to document that notice as soon as possible. The pay under the first part of the Act equals full normal pay up to a maximum of $511 a day, with a maximum of $5,110 in the aggregate. If the employee is out caring for another, pay is 2/3 of normal pay, capped at $200 a day and an aggregate pay of $10,000.
This information is general in nature and not intended to be relied on by employers or employees and is not intended as legal advice. If you have questions or specific concerns, please call us today and let us guide you through (254) 300-7909.