Creating New Rights for Employees and Requirements for Employers of Small Businesses
On March 18, 2020, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“Act”) was signed into law, requiring employers of businesses with less than 500 employees to provide their employees with paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. Private employers with fewer than 50 employees are exempt when “the imposition of such requirements would jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern.” The law went into effect on April 1, 2020, and is effective until December 31, 2020.
The Act is comprised of two parts, the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act and the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act. Employers are required to provide notice to their employees of their rights under the Act and may do so by emailing the Notice provided by the Department of Labor to their employees. A copy of the Department of Labor’s Notice can be found at https://www.dol.gov/sites/dolgov/files/WHD/posters/FFCRA_Poster_WH1422_Non-Federal.pdf.
The Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act
Employees of covered employers are entitled to up to two weeks (80 hours) of paid sick leave at their regular rate of pay, up to $511 daily and $5110 total if they are subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19, have been advised by their doctor to self-quarantine, or are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and are seeking a medical diagnosis.
Employees of covered employees are entitled to up to two weeks (80 hours) of paid sick leave at 2/3 their salary, up to $200 daily and $2000 total, if they are caring for an individual subject to a quarantine order or is self-quarantined, is caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed due to COVID-19, or is experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Part-time employees are entitled to paid sick leave for the number of hours that the employee normally works over the two-week period.
Lastly, employers cannot require their employees to find a replacement employee for missed time, require the employee to use other paid leave pursuant to policy or law before the employee can use paid sick leave, or discharge, discipline, or discriminate against the employee for taking leave, filing a complaint, or testifying in a proceeding.
Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act
Employees of covered employers, who have worked for at least thirty days, are eligible for up to 12 weeks of paid leave at 2/3 of their salary, or up to $200 daily and $12,000 total if they are caring for a child under the age of 18 due to a COVID-19 related declared public health emergence and the child’s school or place of care has been closed or the child’s care provider is unavailable.
The first ten days of family leave are unpaid, but the employee may use paid sick leave if he/she qualifies, and can use other PTO if available.
Employers are required to return an employee who has taken family and medical leave to work in the same or a substantially similar position.
Employers with fewer than 25 employees are exempt if the employee’s position no longer exists dues to economic conditions caused by COVID-19, the employer takes reasonable efforts to restore the employee to an equivalent position, and if there is no equivalent position, the employer takes reasonable efforts over the next year to contact the employee if an equivalent position becomes available.
Employers Entitled to Tax Credits to Pay for Paid Sick and Family Leave
Under the Act, employers may receive tax credits up to the maximum amounts that they must pay their employees for paid sick and family leave. Payroll taxes that are available for retention include withholding federal income taxes, the employee’s share of Social Security and Medicare taxes, and the employer’s share of Social Security and Medicare taxes with respect to all employees. If the amount of taxes retained does not cover the costs of their employees’ qualified leave, the IRS will allow employers to seek an expedited advance.
Philadelphia Employment Lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. Handle Cases Involving the Families First Coronavirus Response Act
If you are an employee or employer who has questions or concerns relating to your rights and obligations under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, you are urged to contact the Philadelphia employment lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. We handle a wide range of employment issues, including paid sick and family leave. To schedule a confidential consultation, call us today at 215-574-0600 or contact us online. Our offices are located in Philadelphia, where we represent clients in South Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.