As a practice owner, you may be wondering exactly who qualifies for COVID-19 sick or paid family leave and what your requirements are as an employer of a small to midsize business.
Based on the recently mandated Families First Coronavirus Response ACT (FFCRA or Act), employers with fewer than 500 employees are required to provide sick pay and paid family leave to employees. In order to qualify for sick leave due to the spreading virus, employees will need to disclose the specific reason for their leave and their pay rate may vary depending on hours worked.
Emergency Sick Leave
If an employee cannot work or telework, they may request leave verbally or in writing, and all information should be documented using an emergency sick leave request form and disclose the reason they qualify. This applies to all employees no matter how long they are with the practice.
In general, an employee can qualify for sick leave if they are:
- subject to a government quarantine order;
- quarantined by their doctor;
- experiencing symptoms of coronavirus or seeking a medical diagnosis; or
- caring for a child or another person who is quarantined.
How Much is the Employee Paid and For How Long?
The amount your employee is paid will depend on the hours they work and the reason for sick leave.
Under the FFCRA paid sick leave, full-time employees are those that work 40 hours a week and will be paid for two weeks of pay (or eighty hours), if they are experiencing symptoms of coronavirus or are under quarantine. Part-time employees’ available hours for paid sick leave is based on the average hours they work in a two-week timeframe. If the hours vary, then you will calculate the average of hours worked over the past six months.
The rate of pay will be determined solely on their reason for leave. If an employee has been advised to self-quarantine by their doctor or the employee is experiencing symptoms and seeking a diagnosis, they will be paid at their regular rate of pay.
In this instance, employees are eligible for their regular rate of pay up to $511 per day and $5,110 total in a two-week period.
If an employee takes leave to care for a family member or to care for a child whose daycare provider or school is closed, then they are eligible for two thirds of their regular rate of pay, or minimum wage, depending on which is higher.
In this situation, employees are eligible for a maximum of $200 per day and $2,000 total in a two-week period.
Family Medical Leave
If you have an employee that cannot work or telework because they need to care for their child due to school or childcare closure, then this employee is eligible for up to 12 weeks of leave under the Expanded Family and Medical Leave Act. Employees may request leave verbally or in writing, and all information should be documented using an expanded family leave request form to initiate the request.
Your employee will need to confirm information on the form:
- the age of the child; (children over 14 may be covered due to special circumstances)
- they have no one to care for their child due to school closures because of coronavirus
To qualify, an employee must be employed for at least 30 calendar days. Also, employees will be paid at two thirds of their regular rate or minimum wage, whichever is higher up to $200 per day or up to $10,000 over 10 weeks.
FMLA leave covers an employee for up to 12 weeks with the first two weeks unpaid, but generally this is when paid sick leave is applied.
Will I Receive a Tax Credit on Benefits Paid?
Your business will be reimbursed dollar-for-dollar for all qualifying wages paid. Tax credits are also designed to reimburse amounts paid out to maintain health insurance coverage for employees out on leave.
Could My Practice Qualify for Exemptions?
If you are a small business with fewer than 50 employees, or a healthcare provider including medical, dental and optometry practices, then you may qualify for exemptions from the rules.
If an authorized officer of the company can confirm that there’s a risk that your business could be in jeopardy, or in the employee’s absence, or the leave would result in financial obligations exceeding existing revenues and cause the business to halt operations, you could be exempt if leave is due to child care or school closures.
For additional information please visit the Department of Labor’s website and information on COVID-19 and the American Workplace.
If you are a current HR for Health client and have additional questions, please reach out to our team by calling 877-779-4747. Please keep in mind that due to an influx in questions related to the COVID-19 outbreak, our response time may be slower than usual, but we will get back to you as soon as we can!
If you are not a current HR for Health client and have additional questions, please schedule an HR consultation with us by booking time here or calling us at 877-779-4747, option 1.
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HR for Health is one of the nation’s leading Human Resources Management Systems (HRMS) used by small to mid-sized practices. HR for Health has provided the following complimentary articles to ensure you have a game plan when addressing complex HR matters.
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