Families First Coronavirus Response Act
- The Emergency Paid Leave Act (EPLA)
- The Emergency Expansion of Family Medical Leave (EFMLA)
#1 – EPLA
The employee must not be able to work at all (remotely or on-site) due to any of the following:
- The employee is subject to any federal, state, or local quarantine
- A health care provide advised the employee to self-quarantine
- The employee has symptoms of the virus
- The employee is caring for an individual who is subject to quarantine
- The employee is caring for his/her child whose school/daycare is closed due to COVID-19
Benefits: Employees receive 2 weeks paid sick leave at their regular rate. For reasons 1-3, in no event shall amount paid exceed $511 per day and $5,110 in total. For 4-5, amount paid cannot exceed $200 per day and $2,000 in total.
#2 – EFMLA
The employee must not be able to work at all because they are caring for his/her child under 18 whose school/daycare is closed due to COVID-19.
Benefits: Up to 12 weeks of leave. The initial 10 days are unpaid (but paid through EPLA above). After the 10 days, the employee is entitled to 2/3 of normal wages for the number of hours he/she would be expected to work, up to a maximum of $200 per day and $10,000 in total.
Employers get 100% subsidized by the government through refundable tax credits against their employer portion of Social Security taxes to pay for the benefits above.
Q: What if the business closes temporarily or permanently? Do they still have to pay?
A: If a business closure, whether voluntary or involuntary, is the only reason the employee is out of work, then he or she does not get these paid benefits. The Act gives the US Dept. of Labor authority to exempt small employers with fewer than 50 employees if the paid leave would cause material financial burden.
Q: Are businesses that move to a remote workplace for the time being required to pay for employees who have kids?
A: If the employee works remotely but takes care of kids, there are no paid benefits. Both EPLA and EFMLA are for employees who cannot work at all (remotely or on-site). One of the qualifying reasons to receive the benefits is the need to take care of kids because of school closing.
Q: What if a full-time worker has their hours cut to part-time because of the coronavirus? Do they still get paid leave?
A: The Act only provides paid benefits to people who are completely unable to work due to the effect of the virus. So an employee who is still working a portion of their hours wouldn’t qualify.