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Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

As the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to sweep the nation, the “Families First Coronavirus Response Act” (the Act) was approved by Congress and signed into law by the President on March 18, 2020 in an attempt to intended to ease the economic consequences stemming from the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak by providing family and medical leave, and sick leave, to employees and providing tax credits to employers and self-employees providing the leave during this global pandemic. Several of the Act’s provisions will affect employers navigating the unstable business landscape as well as their employees, who are also impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. The Act, in part, implements changes to the federal Family and Medical Leave Act establishing a federal emergency paid leave benefits program to provide payments to employees taking unpaid leave due to the COVID-19 outbreak, requires employers to provide paid sick time leave, permits tax credits for amounts paid to employees on leave, and allows for additional funding to state unemployment insurance trust funds.


The Act takes effect on April 2, 2020 and most provisions will expire on December 31, 2020.


Covered Employers:

  • Private-sector employers with fewer than 500 employees
  • Health care providers or emergency responders are excluded
  • Department of Labor will have the authority to exempt employers with less than 50 employees if it would jeopardize the viabilityof the business as a going concern

Eligible Employees

  • Worked for the employer for at least 30 calendar days
  • Includes full-time or part-time

Reasons to Take Leave

  • Qualifying need related to a public health emergency
  • Unable to work (or telework) due to the need to care for a child under the age of 18 if the child’s school, place of care, or child care provider is closed due to a public health emergency (including coronavirus)

Leave Amount

  • Up to 12 weeks
  • First 10 days may consist of unpaid leave
  • Remainder of the leave must be paid

Use of Other Accrued Leave

  • Employees may elect to substitute any accrued vacation leave, personal leave, or medical or sick leave for the initial 10 days of unpaid leave
  • Employer may not require an employee to substitute any such leave  

Salary Continuation

  • Paid for each day the employee is out of work after the initial 10-day period for the remainder of the leave period
  • Paid no less than two-thirds of their regular rate of pay based on the number of hours the employee would otherwise have been scheduled to work
  • Amounts paid to an employee do not have to exceed $200 per day, or $10,000 in the aggregate.

Job Protection

  • Public health emergency leave is job-protected
  • Exemption from this requirement for employers with fewer than 25 employees
    • Position no longer exists due to economic hardship related to Coronavirus
    • Reasonable efforts to restore to equivalent position
    • Reasonable efforts to contact if position becomes available


Covered Employers

  • Private-sector employers with fewer than 500 employees
  • Certain public agencies employing one or more individuals

Eligible Employees

  • All employees are covered; No other requirements

Reasons to Take Leave

  • Unable to work (or telework) due to the employee
    • being subject to federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation;
    • being told by a health care provider to self-quarantine;
    • having symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis
    • having to care for an individual subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation; 
    • having to care for a child of any age if the child’s school, place of care, or child care provider is closed due to the public health emergency.

Leave Amount and Pay

  • Full-time employees – up to 80 hours of emergency paid sick leave
  • Part-time employees – average hours during a 2-week period 
  • For their own care – paid at regular rate of pay for the hours normally scheduled to work 
  • To care for a family member – paid at 2/3 of their regular rate of pay for the hours normally scheduled to work  


Employee – Paid leave does not have to exceed $511 per day or $5,110 aggregately

Caring for a family member – Paid leave to the employee does not have to exceed $200 per day or $2,000 aggregately

Use with Other Paid Leave – An employer may not require an employee to use other paid leave provided by the employer to the employee before the employee uses emergency paid sick leave.

Notice – Employers must post a notice regarding employee’s rights under the law. The Department of Labor has been tasked with creating a model notice available no later than 7 days after the date of enactment of the Act.

Carry Over – This sick leave cannot be carried over from one year to the next.


For Paid Sick and Paid Family and Medical Leave

Payroll tax credit covers 100% of the wages paid to employees under the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act and the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act

  • Qualified paid sick leave wages are capped at $511 per day ($200 per day if the leave is for caring for a family member or child)
    • Capped at 10 days per employee in each calendar quarter
    • Qualified emergency family leave wages are capped at $200 per day for each individual up to $10,000 total per calendar quarter

Payroll tax credit for those employers that sponsor group health plans may be increased by the amount of “qualified health plan expenses” excluded from an employee’s gross income and that are allocable to qualified sick leave wages or qualified family leave wages in accordance with regulations to be prescribed by the Department of Treasury at a future date. 


Emergency Grants – Available to states to provide additional funding to use in the processing and payment of unemployment insurance benefits. 

Notification – States must require employers to provide notification of potential unemployment insurance eligibility to laid off workers. 

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