Navigating FFCRA - SmartTalks Monthly Meeting Part One of Two
April 23, 2020
First aspect of the FFCRA is the first Federal requirement for paying employees for NOT working. The Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act requires employers support COVID-19 affected employees for a two week period.
The second aspect is the requirement for paying employees certain periods of not working over an extended 12 week time-frame, when requiring family care due to COVID-19.
Depending on the circumstances, Employers are required to pay full or partial compensation based on the employees normal rate of pay as defined in the DOL Fact Sheet #56A. The higher of applicable minimum wage standards or the normal compensation, including salary or hourly rates, plus commissions, tips, etc.
An employee is defined by the FLSA standards. A full-time employee normally works 40 hours per week and a part-time employee normally works less than 40 hours per week.
Sick Leave for EE and Family Care High Level: requires certain employers to provide their employees with paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19.The Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act requires employers support COVID-19 affected employees for a two week period.
What Employees Qualify: An employee is eligible Regardless of the Length of Employment (1 day, 1 hour?) The employee must be directly affected by COVID-19 and cannot work or tele-work due to the event.
What are covered/eligible events? There are six events in basically two types of events. The events are divided into two groups, Personal Care and Family Care:
- 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 health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID–19.
- The employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID–19 and seeking a medical diagnosis.
The first three then appear to be related to an employee being quarantined based on their own COVID-19 condition or circumstances caused by the virus.
- The employee is caring for an individual who is subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order; or has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine.
- The employee is caring for a son or daughter of such employee if the school or place of care of the son or daughter has been closed, or the childcare provider of such son or daughter is unavailable, due to COVID–19 precautions.
The DOL may make an exception for #5 for employers with less than 50 employees if paying benefits may threaten the viability of the employer. No regulations have been released to date.
- 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.
The second three appear to relate to the employee caring for someone else who is affected by COVID-19 or related circumstances.
What are the benefits to be provided?
For reasons 1-3 previously explained:
- An employee is eligible to be paid 100% of her normal pay rate for a two week period.
- For Full-time employees there is a cap of $511 per day or $5,110 for the 80 hours.
- A Part-time employee is eligible to be paid 100% of her normal pay rate for a pro-rated number of hours she normally works over a two-week period
- This capped by the pro-rated number of average daily hours times the $511 per day.
For reasons 4-6 previously explained:
- The total amount paid is 2/3's of the employees normal pay rate.
- The daily maximum is capped at $200 per day.
- The Full-time employee would have a maximum benefit of the lower of 2/3 of her normal pay rate or $200 per day for the 10 day period. $2,000
- Part-time employee would have a maximum benefit of the lower of 2/3 of her normal pay rate or $200 per day reduced to the percentage of hours normally worked over atwo-week period divided by 80 hours. Ex.20 hours normal work week = 40 hours max
What's the time frame? - Benefits are to be provided for missed work between 4/1/2020 and 12/31/2020. There is no retroactive pay provided prior to 4/1.
- This is a two-week benefit period.
- The consideration of two-weeks can only be used once, although it is not required to be used all at once.
- If one event lasts less than 10 days,another event can use up the balance of the period.
- However, if a first event last 10 days or more, a second event would not require the EPSLA benefit be paid again.
What else should I know? - The law applies to employers with 500 or fewer employees and all government employers.
- The EPSLA takes precedence over all other employer provided PTO plans. The employer must pay EPSLA benefits before paying from other PTO plans.
- Employers must provide notices to employees of the available benefits.
- Normal pay rate is hourly rate plus commissions, tips, and other comparable forms of compensation (much like OT calculation).
- The DOL may issue regulations exempting certain health care providers and emergency responders from the definition of employee.