Families First Coronavirus Response Act
As it stands right now, the FFCRA doesn’t go into effect until April 2, 2020 though it could be made effective sooner. The language of the actual Act is that it “shall take effect not later than 15 days after the enactment of the Act.”
First step – FFCRA Emergency Paid Sick Leave
If any employee is experiencing any of the following:
- Subject to a federal/state/local quarantine or isolation order relating to COVID-19;
- Advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns relating to COVID-19;
- Symptoms of COVID-19 and awaiting diagnosis;
- Caring for an individual subject or advised to quarantine or self-isolate; or
- Caring for his or her son or daughter if their school or place of care has been closed, or childcare is unavailable due to COVID-19 precautions;
- 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;
Then, the employee is eligible for 2 weeks of FFCRA Emergency Paid Sick Leave.
- Full-time employees are entitled to receive 80 hours of emergency paid sick leave.
- Part-time employees are entitled to receive an amount of paid sick leave equivalent to the average number of hours they work during a two-week period.
- Employees experiencing Nos. 1-3 above can receive their full pay up to $511.00 per day, up to a maximum of $5,110.00.
- For employees experiencing Nos. 4-6 above, pay is limited to up to $200.00 per day, up to a maximum of $2,000.00.
- Employers may not require an employee to exhaust “other paid leave provided by an employer” before using emergency paid sick leave.
Second Step – Public Health Emergency FMLA Leave
- Available to any employee who has been employed for 30 calendar days who is unable to work (or telework) due to a need to care for a minor child if the child’s school or place of child care has been closed or is unavailable due to a public health emergency.
- The first 10 days of Emergency FMLA Leave are unpaid, though the employee is eligible for 2 weeks of FFCRA Emergency Paid Sick Leave.
- After the initial ten-day period expires, employees are to be paid at a rate that is “at least two-thirds of the regular rate” the employee would have earned under a normal work schedule, BUT the amount of required pay for leave is limited to no more than $200 per day and $10,000 total.
- Employees can receive up to 12 weeks of leave in all, but the right to leave ends when the need for the leave ends.
- Employers may not require employees to exhaust existing paid leave during this time period.
- Emergency FMLA leave is job-protected – employers must restore employees to their prior positions (or an equivalent) when their need for leave ends.
Employer Payroll Tax Credits
- Employers will receive refundable payroll tax credits equal to 100% of wages paid to employees who take time under FFCRA.
- The credit is capped at $511 per day per employee while the employee is receiving paid sick leave to care for themselves, or $200 if the sick or family leave is to care for a family member or child whose school is closed.
- The tax credit is applied against the employer share of FICA taxes. If the amount of credit exceeds the employer’s payroll tax liability, the excess amount will be refunded to the employer.
- These rules apply only to wages paid with respect to the period beginning on a date selected by the Secretary of the Treasury which is during the 15-day period beginning on the date of the enactment of the Act, and ending on December 31, 2020.
Georgia Emergency Unemployment Rule
- Effective for claim weeks beginning March 15, 2020.
- If an employee’s work time is reduced due to the COVID-19 health emergency, employers must file partial claims on the GA DOL website.
- Applies for both full and part-time employees.
- Do not have to file a claim for any employee being paid a benefit (such as FFCRA sick leave or emergency FMLA leave) while out of work, or for employees who were already on a scheduled leave (medical, leave of absence, etc.) prior to the lay-off period.
- Employees do not need to submit a separate filing.
- Most claims filed on line are paid within 48 hours.
- Any employer failing to comply must pay the Commissioner of Labor the full amount of the benefits paid to the employee.
- The Emergency Rule will stay in effect through July 14, 2020 unless the Department of Labor elects to modify, reduce, or extend this deadline.