Families First Coronavirus Response Act
Families First Coronavirus Response Act (7)
The new Act requires employers with fewer than 500 employees to provide paid leave for some employees related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, among other measures.
The new Act will take effect on April 1, 2020.
If a company already offers paid time off or sick leave, does the employee have to use that prior to using the paid sick leave provided by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act?
No, an employer may not require an employee to use other paid leave provided by the employer before the employee uses the paid sick time under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. However, prior to the effective date of the act, employees should use their available PTO, vacation, or sick time. An employee may elect to substitute any accrued vacation leave, personal leave, or medical or sick leave, as well as sick or family leave mandated by state and local government.
Employees can qualify for Emergency Sick Leave and/or Emergency Family and Medical Leave under this act.
Emergency Sick Leave must be made available to workers who are symptomatic or are under an order or advice to quarantine or self-isolate, who have to care for a family member under such an order or advice, or who have a child whose school or child care provider or facility has closed or is unavailable due to the coronavirus.
Emergency Family and Medical Leave must be made available when an employee is unable to work or telework due to school or child care closures related to the coronavirus.
The Employer will pay the leave benefits and then receive a credit against payroll taxes for each calendar quarter an amount equal to 100 percent of the qualified sick leave wages paid by the employer within that calendar quarter.
Employers with fewer than 50 employees may qualify for exemption from the requirement to provide leave on account of school closings or child care unavailability if the leave requirements would jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern; the Department of Labor is expected to publish regulations about this exemption in the future.
If an employee is out on one of the required leave benefits in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, is that employee eligible for health insurance benefits?
Yes, the employee is eligible for medical insurance while on Emergency Paid Sick Leave and Emergency Family Medical Leave under this act.
In addition, the company would qualify for a credit for any amount paid or incurred by the employer to provide and maintain a group health plan, but only to the extent that such amounts are excluded from the gross income of the employees.