Congress passed an amended version of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. There is every expectation that President Donald Trump with sign the legislation into law shortly.

The final version of the bill applies to most of our members as it includes employers with fewer than 500 employees. Upon enactment the Act will become effective within 15 days and will expire on December 31, 2020.  The Act will provide certain employees with 10 days of paid sick leave for various Coronavirus related absences from work. The Act also provides certain employees 2/3 of their regular pay if they must stay home to care for their children under certain conditions set out below.

Specifics of the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act

Employers with fewer than 500 employees are required to provide full-time employees with 80 hours of paid sick leave.  It should be noted that this is required regardless of how long the employee had been employed prior to the leave, subject to the exception set out below for employers with fewer than 50 employees.  Part-time employees will receive only the number of hours they have worked over an average two-week period.

The leave benefits are available only to employees who are absent from work for reasons related to Coronavirus.

To qualify for these benefits the employee's leave must fall under the following:

  1. The employee is subject to a government quarantine/isolation order related to Coronavirus.
  2. The employee has been advised by a health care provider to quarantine for Coronavirus concern.
  3. The employee is experiencing symptoms of Coronavirus and seeking a medical diagnosis.
  4. The employee is caring for an individual who is subject to an order as described above or has been advised by a health care provider as described above.
  5. The employee is caring for a son or daughter if the child's school or place of care has been closed or the child's childcare provider is unavailable due to Coronavirus precautions; or
  6. The employee is experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of Labor.

An employee who requires sick leave to care for themselves are entitled to his/her full regular rate of pay for the number of hours he/she would work per day.  Employers can cap the amount of paid benefits for each employee at $511 per day with a total aggregate of $5,110.  If an employee requires leave to care for others, (including children home from school or without childcare) the employee is entitled to only 2/3 of his/her regular rate of pay.  Sick leave under these circumstances is capped at $200 per day with a total aggregate of $2,000 aggregate for the employee.

*The Act requires that employers must provide these benefits in addition to any existing paid leave benefits that already exist under their time off policies.  This means that an employee can use the paid leave provided by this Act as set out above prior to being required to use any available leave benefits offered by his/her employer.


FMLA Expansion for Childcare

The Act expands of the FMLA to provide for leave needed for childcare purposes.  This expansion will cover all employers with fewer than 500 employees.

*It should be noted that the Act allows the Secretary of Labor to exempt employers with fewer than 50 employees from the Act's provisions and only applies to employees who have worked for 30 days or longer.

The Act provides for the availability of Emergency FMLA leave to an employee to care for the employee's child if the child is under 18 years old; and the child's school or place of care is closed, or the child's child care provider is unavailable, due to a public health emergency.

The employer has the option to provide the first 10 days of this leave without pay.  The employee has the option to choose to substitute or use accrued paid leave during the first 10-day period.  However, employers may not require the employee to use accrued paid leave during the first 10-day period, no matter how their policies are written.  The employee can choose to use their paid sick leave provided by the Act for payment of this time. 

Upon the end of the first 10-days, employers are required to provide additional paid leave to the employee for the remaining 10 weeks, but only at two-thirds of the employee's regular rate of pay for the number of hours the employee would normally be scheduled to work.  The amount of pay during these 10 weeks is capped at $200 per day with a total aggregate of $10,000 for the employee.  The employee must provide his/her employer as much notice as possible under the circumstances.

Tax Credits to Employer
The Act provides for a 100% refundable tax credit to employers of the qualified sick leave wages paid to the employee.  Tax credits would be given quarterly and are allowed against the employer's Social Security taxes.


Further information will be sent out as it becomes available.