The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which was enacted into law on March 18, 2020, and takes effect April 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020, applies to private employers that employ less than 500 employees. Under the FFCRA, employees who are required to stay home because of six specific Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)-related reasons are eligible for paid sick time if the employee is unable to work, or unable to telework, due to a need for leave because the employee:
- is subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19;
- has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine related to COVID-19;
- is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and is seeking a medical diagnosis;
- is caring for an individual subject to an order described in (1) or self-quarantine as described in (2);
- is caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed (or child care provider is unavailable) for reasons related to COVID-19; or
- is experiencing any other substantially-similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the Secretaries of Labor and Treasury.
Duration of Leave: For reasons (1)-(4) and (6): A full-time employee is eligible for 80 hours of leave. A part-time employee is eligible for the number of hours of leave that the employee works on average over a two-week period. For reason (5): A full-time employee is eligible for up to 12 weeks of leave (two weeks of paid sick leave followed by up to 10 weeks of paid expanded family & medical leave) at 40 hours a week, and a part-time employee is eligible for leave for the number of hours that the employee is normally scheduled to work over that period. It is important to note that the FFCRA prohibits employers from requiring an employee to exhaust accrued paid-time-off or state/local paid sick leave. Employees are entitled to utilize federal emergency paid sick leave before using state or local paid sick leave or accrued employer-offered paid time off. In addition, the FFCRA also provides a 100% tax credit to an employer for these sick and family leave payments to employees.