On March 18, 2020, H.R. 6201, otherwise known as the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, was signed into law. The law introduces measures to help those impacted by the novel coronavirus known as COVID-19. Here at Shenon Law Group, we are actively familiarizing ourselves with this and other developing legislation related the pandemic associated with COVID-19. Be sure to check back with Shenonlaw.com for further updates or give us a call at (855) 474-3666 to discuss how these laws may impact you and your business.
The Families First Coronavirus Response Actcontains two sections that may have serious ramifications for both employers and employees alike – The Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act and The Emergency Family Medical Leave Expansion Act.
The Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (“EPSLA”) requires certain employers with fewer than 500 employees to provide up to10 days of paid sick leave to employees affected by COVID-19. The employer must pay the employee their regular rate of pay unless the leave is used for the care of another, then the rate of pay is two-thirds of the employee’s regular rate of pay. For part-time employees whose schedule varies the employee will be entitled to the average rate of pay over the last 6-month period. Paid sick leave must be provided as follows:
Companies with fewer than 50 employees may petition for an exemption from the Department of Labor if “such requirements would jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern.”
Employees may be entitled to EPSLA for any of these qualifications are met:
This portion of the law, which also only applies to employers with fewer than 500 employees, expands the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) to permit individuals to take a total of 12 weeks of job protected leave for COVID-19 related reasons.
Again, companies with fewer than 50 employees may petition for an exemption from the Department of Labor if “such requirements would jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern.”
The EFMLEA applies to all employees that have been employed for at least 30 calendar days and may use the leave for following reasons:
While affected employees may elect to use accrued personal or sick leave during the first 10 days of leave, an employer may not require employees to do so. After the first 10 days of leave, employers must pay affected employees two-thirds their regular rate of pay, up to $200 per day, for the number of hours the employee would normally be scheduled to work over that period.
Fortunately for employers, the law provides a refundable tax credit for 100% of qualified EPSLA and EFMLA wages paid by an employer for each calendar quarter. The tax credit is allowed against the employer portion of Social Security taxes. If either credit exceeds the employer’s total of the employer portion of the Social Security tax for all employees for any calendar quarter, the excess credit is directly refundable to the employer.