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Co-Author : Kim Freeman | Director of HR Services

Many Americans fear they or family members will contract COVID-19. The aggressive virus spreads easily and has resulted in a global pandemic. To ease the economic strain created by stay-at-home orders, the federal government has passed relief measures, including the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).

The FFCRA was signed into law on March 18, 2020, and took effect on April 1, 2020. The act provides emergency paid sick leave and emergency expanded family leave for employees at companies with 500 or fewer workers. This legislation expires on December 31, 2020.

The FFCRA emergency paid sick leave is in addition to current paid leave that may be provided to employees by their companies or by local or state paid sick leave laws.  It does not replace existing policies.

Employers must provide 80 hours of job-protected paid sick leave when an employee cannot work or telecommute because of six specific COVID-19-related reasons. All employees are eligible for this leave, regardless of the length of employment and must be paid at a rate of their regular pay or minimum wage (whichever is higher).  If employees are taking the leave to care for family members, they are entitled to two-thirds of their regular rate of pay. The amounts paid daily are capped and are dependent on why the paid sick leave is needed.

If the need for leave is related to a school closure or unavailability of childcare due to COVID-19 the employee may be eligible for additional leave under the emergency FMLA expansion.  Family leave offers an employee a total of 12 weeks of paid leave with job protection in most cases.  To be eligible for this expanded family leave, employees must have worked for the company at least 30 days before the need for leave. If eligible, employees can receive two-thirds of their pay..  The amounts paid daily are capped.

For more information regarding eligibility for FFCRA benefits or additional details, please visit our Resource Center, ask any of our HR professionals, or click the following link:

Shellie Rich

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