Families First Coronavirus Response Act

Effective Date

  • This legislation is not retroactive; its provisions will apply beginning 15 days after enactment on April 2, 2020.
  • The legislation is limited to just this coronavirus pandemic; its provisions expire on December 31, 2020.

Covered Employers

  • The bill applies only to employers who employ less than 500 employees (no minimum) and public agencies.
  • For employers with 50 or fewer employees, the Secretary of Labor can exempt the business from these requirements.
  • Self-employed individuals will also receive benefits.

Eligible Employees

  • Any individual who is employed by an employer with 500 employees or less.

Benefits for Employees

  • Paid Leave:

 

Two weeks (up to 80 hours) of expanded family and medical leave at the employee’s regular rate of pay where the employee is unable to work because the employee is quarantined (pursuant to Federal, State, or local government order or advice of a health care provider), and/or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis; or

 

Two weeks (up to 80 hours) of expanded family and medical leave at two-thirds the employee’s regular rate of pay because the employee is unable to work because of a bona fide need to care for an individual subject to quarantine (pursuant to Federal, State, or local government order or advice of a health care provider), or to care for a child (under 18 years of age) whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19, and/or the employee is experiencing a substantially similar condition as specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the Secretaries of the Treasury and Labor; and

 

Up to an additional 10 weeks of expanded family and medical leave at two-thirds the employee’s regular rate of pay where an employee, who has been employed for at least 30 calendar days, is unable to work due to a bona fide need for leave to care for a child whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19.

  • Employers cannot force you to use up your vacation or other sick time before receiving these benefits.
  • Employers cannot force you to find a replacement worker.

Qualifying Reasons for Leave

Paid sick leave may be used when an employee is unable to either work or telework for any of the following reasons:

 

  1. The employee is subject to a government quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19;
  2. The employee has been advised by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine due to COVID-19;
  3. The employee has symptoms of COVID-19 and is seeking a medical diagnosis;
  4. The employee is caring for an individual subject to either (1) or (2);
  5. The employee needs to care for a child whose school or place of care is closed or whose childcare provider is unavailable due to coronavirus;
  6. The employee is experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Duration of Leave:

  • For reasons (1)-(4) and (6): A full-time employee is eligible for 80 hours of leave, and a part-time employee is eligible for the number of hours of leave that the employee works on average over a two-week period.

 

  • For reason (5): A full-time employee is eligible for up to 12 weeks of leave (two weeks of paid sick leave followed by up to 10 weeks of paid expanded family & medical leave) at 40 hours a week, and a part-time employee is eligible for leave for the number of hours that the employee is normally scheduled to work over that period.

 

 

Calculation of Pay:

  • For leave reasons (1), (2), or (3): employees taking leave are entitled to pay at either their regular rate or the applicable minimum wage, whichever is higher, up to $511 per day and $5,110 in the aggregate (over a 2-week period).

 

  • For leave reasons (4) or (6): employees taking leave are entitled to pay at 2/3 their regular rate or 2/3 the applicable minimum wage, whichever is higher, up to $200 per day and $2,000 in the aggregate (over a 2-week period).

 

  • For leave reason (5): employees taking leave are entitled to pay at 2/3 their regular rate or 2/3 the applicable minimum wage, whichever is higher, up to $200 per day and $12,000 in the aggregate (over a 12-week period).
    •  An employee may elect to substitute any accrued vacation leave, personal leave, or medical or sick leave for the first two weeks of partial paid leave under this section.

 

  • Paid sick time provided under this Act does not carryover from one year to the next. Employees are not entitled to reimbursement for unused leave upon termination, resignation, retirement, or other separation from employment.

Benefits for Employers

  • Employers receive tax credits for 100 percent of what they pay out to employees, with the above-noted limits.
  • Employers with fewer than 25 employees do not have to restore employees to their previous positions.

Self-Employed Individuals

  • If you are a self-employed individual who is affected by the coronavirus emergency, the Act allows you to claim a refundable credit against your federal income-tax bill, including the self-employment tax hit. If the credit exceeds your bill, the government will issue you a payment for the excess.