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Update on Families First Coronavirus Response Act?

As previously mentioned President Trump signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act on March 18th, which will become law on April 1, 2020. Among other relief, this Act creates paid emergency leave/sick leave for employees who must self-quarantine or self-isolate due to the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak. The following provides additional helpful information regarding how your business should respond as well as a link to the Notice that was promulgated by the Department of Labor and must be posted on or before April 2, 2020.

Paid Emergency Family Medical Leave

The Act expands the coverage of FMLA leave for qualifying conditions to all employers with less than 500 employees. Employees are allowed Paid Emergency Leave under the new § 102(a)(1)(F) of the FMLA. Your business must provide leave to your employees according to the following guidelines:

  • Employees are entitled to receive 10 days unpaid leave. Your employees, however, have the option to exhaust their paid time off (PTO) first.
  • Employees may receive up to 10 additional weeks of leave paid at two-thirds their regular rate of pay.

The additional 10 weeks of paid leave cannot exceed $200.00 per day and $12,000.00 in the aggregate. Also, your business may be exempt if you have less than 50 employees and if paying for said leave would jeopardize the viability of your business.

HOW DO YOUR EMPLOYEES QUALIFY FOR ADDITIONAL MEDICAL LEAVE?

Your employees qualify for the additional 10 weeks of emergency paid medical leave compensation if they:

  • are unable to work (or telework) due to care for a child whose school or daycare has been closed in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

WHAT ABOUT EMERGENCY PAID SICK LEAVE?

The law creates guidelines that require you to offer two weeks of paid sick leave to all employees (full time and part time) who cannot come to work for the reasons set forth above. You are required to pay the employee’s regular rate for the first two weeks if:

  • They are subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID019.
  • They have been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19.
  • They are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking medical diagnosis.
  • To care for an individual who is subject to an order to quarantine or isolate or has been advised to self-quarantine due to COVID-19 concerns.
  • They are caring for a son or daughter if the school or place of care of the son or daughter has been closed, or the child-care provider of such son or daughter is unavailable, due to COVID0-19 precautions.
  • They are experiencing any other substantially similar conditions specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of Labor.

POSTING OF NOTICE

The Act requires all employers to Post Notice of the requirements of this Act in conspicuous places on the employer’s premises – and to the extent employees are working remotely, the poster should be sent via email. The Notice that must be posted as soon as possible. The Notice for non-Federal workers can be found here:

https://www.dol.gov/sites/dolgov/files/WHD/posters/FFCRA_Poster_WH1422_Non-Federal.pdf

WHAT THE EMPLOYER CANNOT DO

Under this legislation, an employer cannot:

  • Change paid leave policies to circumvent this new law or defray the costs involved
  • Require employees to use paid leave before using their emergency paid sick leave allotment
  • Require employees to find someone to cover their shift.

If we work together to protect ourselves and our employees, we can stop the spread of COVID-19. Our legal team at MacMain, Connell & Leinhauser, LLC can help your company understand the laws evolving around the COVID-19 outbreak. Contact us online or call us at 484-318-7106 for more information. Located in West Chester, Pennsylvania, we serve clients throughout Philadelphia and Chester County, as well as in New Jersey.

What is the Families First Coronavirus Response Act?

President Trump recently signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act on March 18th, which will become law on April 2, 2020. The law creates paid emergency leave/sick leave for employees who must self-quarantine or self-isolate due to the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak. The following provides helpful information regarding how your business should respond.

Paid Emergency FMLA

Employees are allowed Paid Emergency FMLA § 102(a)(1)(F) under this law. Your business must provide leave to your employees according to the following guidelines:

  • Employees receive their first 14 days off at their regular pay rate. Your employees, however, have the option to exhaust their paid time off (PTO) first. Once their PTO is exhausted, they will receive 14 more days of leave at their regular rate.
  • Employees may receive up to 10 additional weeks of leave paid at two-thirds their regular rate.

Your business may be exempt if you have less than 25 employees and if paying for said leave would strain your business financially.

How Do Your Employees Qualify?

Your employees qualify for emergency paid leave compensation when they:

  • Must stay home to comply with a local or statewide mandate or the recommendation of a public health official because the employee cannot do their job if they were exposed or would jeopardize the health of others by coming to work.
  • Must stay home to care for a family member because that family member cannot perform their job duties without jeopardizing the health of the community.
  • Must stay home to care for a child whose school or daycare was closed in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

What About Emergency Paid Sick Leave?

Your employees may be entitled to emergency paid sick leave if they miss work for any of the following reasons:

  • They must self-quarantine or seek a diagnosis/preventative treatment due to symptoms of COVID-19.
  • They must self-quarantine or seek treatment due to an order by a public health official or the state/local government.
  • They must care for an at-risk family member who has been quarantined because of a diagnosis or symptoms of COVID-19.
  • To care for a child if that child’s daycare or school has been closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The law creates guidelines that require you to offer two weeks of paid sick leave to all employees who cannot come to work. You are required to pay the employee’s regular rate for the first two weeks if the employee:

  • Must self-quarantine because they were diagnosed with COVID-19 or have symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Must comply with a federal or local mandate to self-quarantine.

You will pay two-thirds the employee’s regular rate if they:

  • Must stay home to care for an at-risk family member.
  • Must care for their child because the school or daycare is closed.

Paid sick leave will be administered by the Social Security Administration.

What the Employer Cannot Do

Under this legislation, an employer cannot:

  • Change paid leave policies to circumvent this new law or defray the costs involved
  • Require employees to use paid leave before using their emergency paid sick leave allotment
  • Require employees to find someone to cover their shift.

If we work together to protect ourselves and our employees, we can stop the spread of COVID-19. Our legal team at MacMain, Connell & Leinhauser can help your company understand the laws evolving around the COVID-19 outbreak. Contact us online or call us at 484-318-7106 for more information. Located in West Chester, Pennsylvania, we serve clients throughout Philadelphia and Chester County, as well as in New Jersey.

Important Coronavirus Update for Employers

The national public health crisis of coronavirus COVID-19 is impacting many of us in one way or another. Employers are facing many unprecedented questions surrounding their workers while adhering to all recommendations from legislature and the CDC for the safety and well-being of all.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued new guidance for employers regarding the coronavirus. Specifically, employers may be allowed to require employees to submit to testing and stay at home. The specific guidelines include the following:

  • Employers may ask employees who report symptoms consistent with the COVID-19 infection to submit to non-invasive temperature testing
  • Employers can do this without violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated that employees who become ill with symptoms of COVID-19 must leave the workplace

These guidelines additionally indicate that, as is consistent with the ADA, employers may require sick employees to stay home. Moreover, employers may require employees who have been away from work due to illness to provide a doctor’s note certifying they are fit for duty. However, employers need to take note that guidance from public health authorities is likely to change as the situation continues to evolve daily or even hourly.

During this time, employers may have many concerns as new issues arrive in the wake of the pandemic. Our experienced legal team at MacMain, Connell & Leinhauser remains available to answer your questions and serve your legal needs. We are open for business and can conduct virtual meetings via phone or videoconference. Call us today at 484-318-7106 or contact us online if you have any questions. We serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey, including Philadelphia County and Chester County from our office in West Chester, Pennsylvania.