The Families First Coronavirus Response Protection Act
Are You Eligible for Expanded Paid Leave?
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) is a law designed to help families and mitigate the economic damage to individuals in the coronavirus pandemic. Its three mandates are:
- Provide funding for free COVID-19 testing
- Expand paid leave for US workers affected by the pandemic
- Expand access to food stamps
If you are an employee in the US, you could be eligible for expanded paid leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. Here are the rules on paid leave and who is eligible under the law.
How Much Paid Sick Leave Can You Access Under the Law?
One factor in the rapid spread of COVID-19 is that sick employees often feel compelled to go to work anyway, because they can’t afford to quarantine for 14 days with no pay.
This law seeks to ensure more workers get the sick leave they need to stay home when they’re experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or have to care for a sick family member. Under the law, qualifying employees get:
Two weeks (or up to 80 hours) of paid sick leave at your regular pay when you’re in quarantine because you’ve been exposed to COVID-19, or are experiencing symptoms and getting tested.
Two weeks (or up to 80 hours) of paid sick leave at two thirds of your regular pay when you have to care for a family member or loved one in quarantine, or a child under 18 whose school or daycare provider is closed due to the pandemic.
Up to 10 additional weeks of paid FMLA leave at two thirds of your regular pay for those who’ve been employed for at least 30 days and who must care for a child whose school or daycare has been closed due to the pandemic.
Eligibility Rules for Employers
Employers who have to comply with the Families First Coronavirus Response Act include government agencies and any private companies with fewer than 500 employees.
There is a significant carve-out for employers with more than 500 employees. And within the categories of employers that are eligible, there are carve-outs as well.
Federal employees covered by Title II of the FMLA (which is most of them) are not eligible for the expanded FMLA provisions offered in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. They are eligible for the expanded paid sick leave, however.
In addition, businesses with fewer than 50 employees may be exempt from providing leave to employees with coronavirus-related childcare obligations if providing that leave would put the business’s viability in jeopardy.
Eligibility Rules for Employees
Everyone working for an eligible employer can access the expanded paid sick leave under the FFCRA. Everyone who’s worked for that employer for at least 30 days is eligible for the extra ten weeks of paid family leave.
Your reasons for accessing paid leave have to qualify, however. Under the law, you are eligible for paid sick leave and expanded family leave if you can’t work (or can’t work from home) for the following reasons:
- You are under a federal, state, or local COVID-19 quarantine order.
- Your doctor has advised you to self-quarantine due to COVID-19.
- You are having symptoms of COVID-19 and are seeking a diagnosis.
You can also access the leave if you have COVID-related caregiving responsibilities, such as:
- You are caring for someone who is under a federal, state or local quarantine order, or who has been advised by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine.
- You are caring for a child whose school or daycare is closed for COVID-related reasons.
Under the rules, full-time employees can qualify for 80 hours of extra paid leave, whereas a part-time employee can qualify for the number of hours that they would ordinarily work over a two-week period.
Are You Entitled To Paid Sick Leave Under the FFCRA?
Is your employer contesting whether you can receive paid sick leave under the FFCRA? If so, it may be violating your rights—and making the workplace less safe for everyone in the process.
Call us at 267-273-1054 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free, confidential consultation today.
The information provided here does not constitute legal advice. It is intended for general purposes only. If you have questions about a specific legal issue, you should speak to an attorney.