Until the first day of 2021, most employees in the U.S. can take advantage of an expanded leave policy that was instituted to help families deal with the effects of COVID-19. One of the more powerful pieces of legislation passed by Congress, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), provides up to 12 weeks (total) for certain employees. This blog will dive deeper into the specific provisions of the law, focusing on employee leave.
Two Weeks (80 Hours)
One of the provisions of the FFCRA allows most U.S. employees to take up to two weeks of paid sick leave if they or someone they care for is having to quarantine based on government rules or on advice from a health care provider. Employees will be paid their full normal rate for these two weeks if they themselves are the subject of the quarantine or seeking a COVID diagnosis after experiencing symptoms.
However, employees only receive 2/3 their rate of normal pay if they have a “bona fide need” to take care of someone who is subject to quarantine; that is, employees themselves will not receive their full pay rate if they are not the subject of a quarantine. This also applies to employees whose minor child (under 18 years old) is deprived of schooling or child care due to COVID-related reasons.
Employees who have worked for their employer at least 30 days are eligible for an additional 10 weeks of paid leave (on top of the two weeks of emergency sick leave) to care for a child whose school or child care is closed due to COVID-19. However, employees who take the 12-week (total) option will be paid at 2/3 their normal rate.
Unfortunately, not all employees are eligible to take advantage of the FFCRA paid leave. The FFCRA applies to all private employees with 500 or fewer full-time or part-time employees. It also applies to most public employees, except for those who work for the federal government (they’re covered by Title II of the FMLA). Small business owners who employ fewer than 50 employees may request an exemption.
While there are a few conditions for employees to verify when taking advantage of FFCRA paid leave, it is proving quite useful for many employees across the country. As always, though, there are employers who either try to get around worker protections or outright flout them. If you think you’re not receiving benefits or protections you deserve, our firm wants to hear from you and help you get what you are entitled to. Get in touch with our firm here or by calling at 1-855-489-4905.