SEMA eNews Vol. 23, No. 14, April 2, 2020

U.S. Department of Labor Issues Guidance on Employee Rights Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act

By SEMA Washington, D.C., Staff

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has published a notice that employers are required to advise employees of their rights under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). Download the poster

The recently enacted FFCRA expands sick and family leave benefits, effective April 1, 2020. The law provides 10 days of paid sick leave at 100% of an employee’s salary (capped at $511 per day and $5,110 total) for those working at businesses with 500 or fewer employees. This benefit applies to employees who have been told to quarantine, show symptoms, were exposed to the virus or those who are trying to get a test or preventive care. The new law requires part-time employees receive the paid sick leave equivalent to the number of hours they typically work during a two-week period. For example, if an employee typically works 20 hours a week, they are eligible for up to 40 hours of pay.

The DOL has created a webpage with fact sheets and frequently asked questions. The webpage includes direct links to specific documents:  

Here are several key provisions:   

  • Employees will only be able to take leave under the FFCRA if the employer otherwise has work for them to do. In other words, if an employee is furloughed before or after April 1, the employee will not be eligible for FFCRA. Likewise, if an employee’s hours are reduced, the employee will only be able to take FFCRA leave to receive paid leave based on their reduced schedule. See Q&A # 23 through 28.
  • Employers will not receive credit for any leave for FFCRA purposes that they have voluntarily provided to employees prior to April 1. As of April 1, any employee who is eligible for FFCRA leave must receive the full leave regardless of any leave previously provided to them.
  • Businesses with less than 50 employees may claim an exemption to the FFCRA. The business may do so if an officer of the company determines the business falls into one of three scenarios as described in the Q&A # 58 and 59.

Questions? Contact Stuart Gosswein at stuartg@sema.org.

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