Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)


H.R. 6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), was in effect April 1, 2020 through Dec. 31, 2020. In addition to other applicable leave available to state employees, H.R. 6201 provided eligible employees who are unable to work or telework due to certain qualifying reasons related to COVID-19 with a period of paid leave. Division E of the FFCRA, the “Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act” (EPSLA) entitled employees to take up to two weeks of paid sick leave for certain qualifying reasons. Also, Division C of the FFCRA, the “Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act” (EFMLEA) permitted eligible employees to take up to twelve weeks of expanded Family and Medical Leave for certain qualifying reasons. The law provided that employers who are health care providers or emergency responders may elect to exclude their employees from these provisions.


Qualifying Reasons for Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL)


1. The employee is subject to a federal, state or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19.

To be eligible for this leave the employee must provide:

(i) Date(s) for which leave is requested;

(ii) Qualifying reason for the leave;

(iii) Oral or written statement that the employee is unable to work because of the qualified reason for leave; and

(iv) The name of the governmental entity that issued the quarantine or isolation order.

 

2. The employee has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine based on a belief that:

(i) The employee has COVID-19;

(ii) The employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking medical diagnosis from a health care provider; or

(iii) The employee is particularly vulnerable to COVID-19.


This leave is available if following the advice of a healthcare provider to self-quarantine prevents the employee from being able to work, either at the employee’s normal workplace or by telework. The employee must provide the employer with the name of the health care provider who advised the employee to self-quarantine due to COVID-19 related concerns.

 

3. The employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and is seeking a medical diagnosis from a health care provider.

This leave is available if the employee is experiencing any of the following symptoms:

(i) Fever;

(ii) Dry cough;

(iii) Shortness of breath; or

(iv) Any other COVID-19 symptoms.

 

EPSL for this reason is limited to time the employee is unable to work because the employee is taking affirmative steps to obtain a medical diagnosis (such as making, waiting for, or attending an appointment for a COVID test). The employer may require the employee to identify his or her symptoms and a date for a test or doctor’s appointment.


4. The employee is caring for an individual who:

- Is subject to a federal, state or local quarantine order related to COVID-19; or

- Has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19.


"Individual" means:

(i) An employee’s immediate family member;

(ii) A person who regularly resides in the employee’s home; or

(iii) A similar person with whom the employee has a relationship that creates an expectation the employee would care for the person if they were quarantined.


Individual does not mean a person with whom there is no relationship.

 

An employee may take EPSL if the individual depends on the employee to care for him or her and has been advised to self-quarantine by a health care provider because of a belief that that:

(i) The individual has COVID-19;

(ii) The individual may have COVID-19 due to known exposure or symptoms; or

(iii) The individual is particularly vulnerable to COVID-19.

 

The employee must provide the employer with the name of the governmental entity or health care provider who advised the individual to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19.

 

5. The employee is caring for his or her son or daughter whose school or place of care has been closed for a period of time, whether by order of a state or local official or authority or at the decision of the individual school or place of care, or the child care provider of such son or daughter is unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19.

The employee must provide to the employer:

(i) Name of the child being cared for;

(ii) Name of the school, place of care or child care provider that has closed or become unavailable; and

(iii) A representation that no other suitable person will be caring for the son or daughter during the period for which the employee takes EPSL.

 

This leave is available only if the need to care for the child causes the employee to be unable to work, either in the normal workplace or by telework.


6. The employee has a substantially similar condition as specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of Labor.

The substantially similar condition may be defined at any point during the effective period, but the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has not yet identified such a condition that would allow an employee to take EPSL. If any such condition is identified, the U.S. Department of Labor will issue guidance explaining when EPSL is available for this reason.

 


Paid Leave Entitlements

1.  Up to two weeks (80 hours, or a part-time employee’s two-week equivalent) of EPSL is available for employees unable to work or telework for one of the six qualifying reasons listed above. The 80 hours is available to be used for any combination of qualifying reasons, but the total number of EPSL is capped at 80 hours.

 

2.  If an employee is taking EPSL for qualifying reasons #1-3, he or she is entitled to receive the regular rate of pay, subject to a maximum of $511.00 per day, or $5,110.00 over the entire 2 week period.

 

3.  If an employee is taking EPSL for qualifying reasons #4-6, he or she is entitled to receive 2/3 of the regular rate of pay, subject to a maximum of $200.00 per day, or $2000.00 over the entire 2 week period.

 

4.  An employee working at his or her usual worksite cannot use EPSL intermittently for qualifying reasons #1-4 and #6. Once the employee begins taking EPSL for one or more of these reasons, the employee must use the permitted days of leave consecutively until the employee no longer has a qualifying reason to take EPSL.  An employer may permit an employee who is working at his or her usual worksite to intermittently take EPSL to care for the employee’s son or daughter whose school or place of care is closed, or child care provider is unavailable, because of reasons related to COVID-19 (qualifying reason #5).

 

5.  An employer may permit an employee who is teleworking to intermittently use EPSL for any qualifying reason.


 

Expanded Family and Medical Leave (EFML)

An eligible employee may take up to 12 workweeks of Expanded Family and Medical Leave (EFML) because he or she is unable to work due to a need to care for his or her son or daughter whose school or place of care has been closed, or whose child care provider is unavailable, for reasons related to COVID-19. EFML is available during the period of April 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020.

 

1.  The first 2 weeks of EFML is unpaid, but the employee may use available EPSL (qualifying reason #5, paid at 2/3 regular rate of pay, subject to a maximum of $200.00 per day) during this initial 2 weeks. The employer may also permit an employee to supplement the amount received from EPSL with accrued available paid leave (personal leave or agency compensatory time) up to the employee’s normal earnings.

 

2.  The employee may choose to substitute accrued available paid leave (personal leave or accrued agency compensatory time) during this initial 2 week period and receive his or her regular rate of pay.

 

3.  For the following 10 weeks of EFML, the employee is to be paid 2/3 of his or her regular rate of pay up to a maximum of $200.00 per day. Employers and eligible employees may agree to have the employee’s accrued available paid leave (personal leave or accrued agency compensatory time) supplement the pay under the EFML so that the employee receives the full amount of his or her regular pay.

 

4.  After the initial 2 weeks of EFML, an employer may require the employee to use accrued available paid leave (personal leave or accrued agency compensatory time) for time taken pursuant to the Expanded Family and Medical Leave Act. In that circumstance, the employee receives the full amount of his or her regular salary. After all personal leave or accrued agency compensatory time is exhausted, the employee is entitled to 2/3 regular rate of pay, subject to a maximum of $200.00 per day for subsequent periods of EFML that is still available.

 

5.  Employees employed by an employer for at least 30 calendar days are eligible for EFML. An employer may permit an employee who is working at his or her usual worksite or teleworking to intermittently use EFML.

 

6.  EFML is available only if the need to care for the child causes the employee to be unable to work, either in the normal workplace or by telework.


The employee must provide to the employer:

(i) Name of the child being cared for;

(ii) Name of the school, place of care or child care provider that has closed or become unavailable; and

(iii) A representation that no other suitable person will be caring for the son or daughter during the period for which the employee takes EFML.

 

For more information concerning the FFCRA, click here.

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