On March 18, 2020, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act was signed into law. This new law expands many employers’ obligations to provide sick leave to employees impacted by COVID-19.
Generally, the Act provides that all covered employers must provide all employees with up two weeks of paid sick leave at the regular rate of pay for up to two weeks if the employee is:
The Act also provides that all covered employers must provide all employees with up to two weeks of paid sick leave at 2/3 the regular rate of pay if:
A covered employer must also provide an additional ten (10) weeks of paid expanded family and medical leave at 2/3 the employee’s regular rate of pay where an employee is unable to work due to a bona fide need for leave to care for a child whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19. Small businesses with fewer than 50 employees may qualify for exemption to provide leave due to school closings or childcare unavailability if the leave requirements would jeopardize the business.
The Act also provides specific rules about in what situation an employee is entitled to sick leave, the maximum amount of sick leave pay that full-time and part-time employees can be entitled to, and specific rules about providing notice of the new law to employees.
Although there is a 30 day “good faith” safe harbor for employers to come into compliance with this law, noncompliance with the Act is subject to punishment under the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Family and Medical Leave Act.
Employers should contact an attorney as soon as possible to ensure they are appropriately complying with the new law.