FFCRA Requires 14 Days Paid Leave Due to Coronavirus
Coronavirus can devastate a person’s health and lead to financial ruin during the time it takes to recover. There are many people who cannot afford to miss a paycheck. To address this issue, the federal government passed a new law called “FFCRA,” or the “Families First Coronavirus Response Act.” FFCRA is an Act of Congress that helps workers impacted by coronavirus. FFCRA increases food stamp funding and allows workers affected in all 50 states to take 14 paid days off work. The act provides this leave for any time until December 31, 2020. FFCRA also requires employers to provide payment for leave if a doctor tells an employee to self-quarantine. FFCRA also covers leave that employees take while they wait for a medical diagnosis.
Paid Leave to Care for a Family Member or for Childcare
The act also allows employees to take 14 days of sick leave to take care of a sick family member or a child who cannot go to school or daycare because of a government order. Employees can take this type of leave at two thirds pay. Under FFCRA, employees can also seek an additional 10 weeks of family and medical leave at the same pay rate. They can take such additional leave if they are unable to work because coronavirus forces them to provide childcare.
Businesses Who Must Adhere to FFCRA
FFCRA only applies to businesses that have fewer than 500 employees and to certain public employers. It excludes federal government employees because Title II of the Family and Medical Leave Act already provides them with paid sick leave. Employers with less than 50 employees can seek an exemption from the childcare leave. That said, such employers can only seek the exemption if providing the leave would jeopardize their business. Generally, this law requires that employers allow all employees to take such leave if the employee worked for the employer for at least 30 days. However, hospitals and other healthcare providers can decide not to allow their employees to take the additional leave.
The act makes sure though not to leave employers high and dry. Employers who pay out additional leave under FFCRA can seek a tax credit for the full amount that they paid. Employers cannot fire or discipline an employee who takes this sick leave. Nor can employers fire or discipline an employee who files a complaint that is related to the act. Employers must also display a notice of the act’s requirements on their premises where people can see it.
The law not only requires additional leave, it also creates penalties if employers do not comply with its requirements. Of course, many employers may be confused or not learn of the act for a while. The government therefore will not enforce the act for 30 days after it was signed into law (March 18, 2020). However, if an employer violates the act and is not acting reasonably or in good faith, then the government will subject that employer to penalties even during the first 30-day period. This means that if an employer refuses to provide the sick leave but does not know of the law in the first 30 days, then the government will not punish that employer. However, if an employee takes off sick leave and informs the employer of the law but the employer still refuses to pay during the leave, then the government can subject them to penalties.
The Law Offices of Scott Glovsky is here to help you during this time. We specialize in insurance law and catastrophic personal injury. Please give us a call with any questions you have.