UPDATED 6/11/2020 8:35am PST:
On March 18, President Trump signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) into law, which is effective from April 1-Dec. 31. This new legislation requires some employers to provide:
- Expanded family and medical leave, and/or
- Emergency paid sick leave to employees because of specific reasons related to COVID-19.
There's a lot to take in, and HR for Health wants to clear up the confusion.
What you need to know: These provisions apply to all employers with fewer than 500 employees. However, employers with fewer than 50 employees will be exempt if the provisions jeopardize the organization's viability.
What you also need to know: There are potential exemptions for healthcare providers, such as medical, dental, and optometry practices. (However, the Department of Health and Human Services is still working on these details, so we'll bring you the latest when we know more.)
Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Expanded Family and Medical Leave
The expanded family and medical leave provisions fall under the new Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLEA), which is the first part of the FFCRA.
The new requirements are different from the family and medical leave provisions before COVID-19. From now until Dec. 31, there are new definitions for "employer" and "employee" for the purpose of family and medical leave:
- The definition of "employer" includes all employers with fewer than 500 employees.
- The definition of "employee" includes all employees who have worked for an employer for at least 30 days.
What Does This Mean?
Unless exempt from these new provisions, an employer (as per the definition above) has to provide an employee (as per the definition above) with up to 12 weeks of protected leave if:
- The employee is unable to work (including telework) because their child's school or place of care has been closed, or
- The employee's childcare provider is unavailable because of a public health emergency. (For example, a dentist's childcare provider experiences COVID-19 symptoms.)
How Will This Work in Practice?
- The first 2 weeks of protective leave is unpaid. However, an employee may choose to use up their sick leave, vacation, or PTO. However, an employer might not require an employee to use these benefits.
- The employer pays for the remaining 10 weeks at two-thirds of the employee’s regular rate of pay. The employer must pay the employee for the number of hours the employee would normally work.
- The protective leave can't exceed $200 per day and $10,000 in total.
Re-opening your practice? Here are the most commonly asked questions from healthcare providers right now.
Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Emergency Paid Sick Leave
The emergency paid sick leave provisions are part of the new Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act, the second part of the FFCRA.
From now until Dec. 31, an employee is eligible for emergency paid sick leave, regardless of the length of time they have worked for an employer.
All eligible employees:
- Can take paid sick leave from April 1 and
- Don't have to use other available paid leave first.
Paid sick leave complements any other paid sick leave or PTO provided by employers.
Which Employees are Eligible?
An eligible employee may take paid sick leave if they are unable to work (including telework) because of one of the following six reasons:
- The employee is subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID–19.
- The employee has been advised by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine because of COVID–19.
- The employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID–19 and seeking a medical diagnosis.
- The employee is caring for an individual who is subject to an order or quarantine.
- The employee has to care for his/her child because the child's school/place of care has closed or the childcare provider is unavailable due to COVID–19 precautions.
- The employee is experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of Labor.
How Much Do Employees Receive?
- Full-time employees: 80 hours.
- Part-time employees: The number of hours an employee usually works, on average, over a 2-week period. Example: A medical administrator who works 30 hours per week can get 60 hours.
How do you calculate pay for employee meetings and training during COVID-19? We have the answers here.
Families First Coronavirus Response Act: What About Us Healthcare Providers?
Remember, the Secretary of Labor has the authority to exempt healthcare providers from these new provisions. But we're still waiting for further clarifications, and we'll update this page as soon as we find out more.
In the meantime, check our FAQ blog for further guidance and watch our video about the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.
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.
Quick note: This is not to be taken as legal or HR advice. Since employment laws change over time and can vary by location and industry, consult a lawyer or HR expert for specific guidance. Learn about HR for Health's HR services