July 17, 2020

Families First Coronavirus Response Act Guidance and FAQ

Families First Coronavirus Response Act Guidance

Update: August 3, 2020

A federal judge has called multiple provisions of the FFCRA into question, including the DOL’s language concerning healthcare exemptions, intermittent leave, FFCRA pay when a business is closed or there is no work available, and leave documentation.

Read a summary of the ruling on our blog.

 
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) was the first piece of emergency legislation passed by the federal government in response to the present outbreak of coronavirus/COVID-19

The FFCRA requires employers to provide eligible employees with up to two weeks of paid sick leave and up to ten weeks of paid family leave under certain specific circumstances related directly to the impact of the coronavirus.

There is a lot of confusion out there about when you need to provide this paid time off to employees who are not working. These benefits ONLY apply if the employee’s situation falls into one of the following criteria:

    1. Subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19;
      • This includes a state’s mandatory post-travel quarantine.

    2. Advised by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine due to COVID-19 concerns; 
      • Note they need to have been told by their doctor to quarantine; you sending the employee home or the employee choosing to self-quarantine doesn’t require pay.

    3. Experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking medical diagnosis;
      • They need to be symptomatic and seeking medical attention; staying home from work as a precautionary measure is not enough to qualify for pay.

    4. Caring for an individual subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order or advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to COVID-19 concerns;
      • Again, there needs to be an actual order to quarantine — it can’t just be choosing to stay home out of an abundance of caution.

    5. They must care for their child if the child’s school or place of care is closed or the child’s care provider is unavailable due to public health emergency;
      • This is the only scenario when the additional ten weeks of family leave applies.

    6. They experience 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.
      • Basically a big catch-all allowing them to add more criteria later – don’t worry about it.

For more step-by-step guidance, the DOL has an interactive tool that walks you through whether someone is eligible for pay.

You can read the law in its entirety here, but we’ll provide a brief summary and answer some of the most common questions the CEDR Solution Center is receiving about this law below.

Here’s a rundown:

 

Table of Contents:


 

The law only applies to certain coronavirus related absences; not lack of work due to a business closure.

Only specific employees who are sick/quarantined, caring for a sick/quarantined family member or a child whose school is closed are eligible for paid time off under the law.  All other employees who experience lack of work due to the virus are eligible for unemployment, but not employer sponsored paid time off under this law. 

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Tax Credits

100% Tax credits are available for employers who pay employees emergency Paid Sick leave and who pay employees emergency Paid Family And Medical Leave. The tax credits cover payments made to employees who qualify for leave under the law (up to the maximum daily/aggregate amounts) as well as payments made to maintain the employee’s health insurance coverage during the leave.

In order for businesses to be able to afford these payments during these difficult times, the IRS has implemented a system for prompt payment of tax credits.  

Tax credit is only given for payments made as required under this law. So, if an employer chooses to pay an amount that goes above and beyond the cap provided by law, there’s no tax credit for that extra amount. If an employer is not subject to this law but chooses to offer pay, there is no available tax credit. 

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Related Reading: CARES Act: SBA Loans and the Paycheck Protection Program

 

 

Paid Time Off Benefits Provided by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act:

Emergency Paid Sick Leave 

All employers with fewer than 500 employees are required to offer two weeks (or the hourly equivalent of an employee’s usual workload over the course of two weeks) of paid sick leave to all employees under certain circumstances in addition to any Paid Sick Leave they offered before the law was enacted. The requirement to provide federally mandated sick leave expires on December 31, 2020.  

 

When does this benefit apply?

Employees are entitled to emergency paid sick leave if (and only if) they are:

    1. Subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19;
    2. Advised by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine due to COVID-19 concerns;
    3. Experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking medical diagnosis;
    4. Caring for an individual subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order or advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to COVID-19 concerns;
    5. They must care for their child if the child’s school or place of care is closed or the child’s care provider is unavailable due to public health emergency;
    6. They experience 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.

 

Which employees qualify for this benefit?

All employees. There is no length of service requirement. However, an important change to this section provides an exception for employees who are health care providers or emergency responders.

 

How many hours of sick time are available?

Employees are able to use paid sick leave for the number of hours they work, on average, over a two-week period, with a maximum of 80 hours.

Once they use up the two weeks of time, they do not have any additional emergency sick leave to use. Meaning, this is not a requirement to pay for two weeks each time the employee needs to be out for a covered reason.

This benefit is only mandated through the end of 2020. Unused amounts will NOT carry over to the following year.

 

What is the sick leave rate of pay?

If the employee is using sick leave because they are…

  1. Subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19; 
  2. Advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to COVID-19 concerns; 
  3. Experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking medical diagnosis; 

…then you must pay sick time hours at the employee’s regular rate. The amount of pay is capped at $511 per day up to $5,110 total per employee.

 

If the employee is using sick leave because they are…

  1. Caring for an individual subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order or advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to COVID-19 concerns; 
  2. Caring for the employee’s child if the child’s school or place of care is closed or the child’s care provider is unavailable due to public health emergency; or 
  3. 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.

…then you must pay sick time hours at ⅔ of the employee’s regular rate. The amount of pay is capped at $200 per day up to $2,000 total per employee. 

 

What if I already provide paid sick leave?

An employer may not require an employee to use other paid leave provided by the employer to the employee before the employee uses the emergency paid sick time available under this law. 

An employee may elect to substitute any accrued vacation leave, personal leave, or medical or sick leave for the first two weeks of partial paid leave under this section. In other words, employees who are only receiving ⅔ of their normal pay under the law may elect to use their accrued paid time off during the first two weeks of leave.

 

Are there protections for employees who request to use paid sick leave under this law?

Yes. It is unlawful for an employer to take any adverse action (e.g. discharge, discipline, discriminate) against any employee who takes paid sick leave or who is involved in a complaint related to this law. 

 

Am I required to provide notice to my employees?

Yes. Employers must post notice of this paid sick leave law in a conspicuous place in the office where notices to employees are customarily posted. The Department of Labor has also released this FAQ on the notice.

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Related Reading: Unemployment Eligibility Expanded Under the CARES Act

 


 

Emergency Family and Medical Leave 

When does this benefit apply?

An employee is entitled to emergency FMLA if:

  1. The employee needs to care for their minor child because:
    • The child’s school or place of care is closed, or
    • The childcare provider is unavailable due to public health emergency 
  2. And the employee is unable to work or telework.

Having reasons for leave that fall under other FMLA criteria, or the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act, do NOT qualify the employee for pay under emergency FMLA.

 

What about length of employment requirements for employees?

Employees are eligible for the ten-week paid family leave benefit if they have worked for the employer for at least 30 calendar days. Note there’s no length of employment requirement for the two weeks of paid sick leave.

Employees who were laid off after 3/1/20 and then rehired are eligible for paid family leave under the law, as long as they worked for the employer not less than 30 of the last 60 calendar days prior to being laid off.

 

What benefits can an eligible employee receive?

Employees can take a total of ten weeks of leave in addition to the two weeks of emergency sick leave.

The employer must pay employees at ⅔ the employee’s regular rate for the number of hours the employee would otherwise be normally scheduled. There is a maximum payment cap of $200 per day and $10,000 in aggregate per employee. 

To determine the number of hours of Emergency FMLA pay for an employee who does not have a regular schedule:
      • Pay an amount equal to the average number of hours that the employee was scheduled per day over the 6-month period ending on the date on which the employee takes such leave, including hours for which the employee took leave of any type.
      • If the employee worked for less than 6 months, pay based on the employee’s reasonable expectation of hours at the time they were hired 

 

Does the employee have a right to their job at the end of their leave?

Employers with 25 or more employees are required to return the employee to the same or equivalent position upon their return to work. 

Employers with fewer than 25 employees are required to return the employee to the same or equivalent position upon the return to work, UNLESS:

  • The employee’s position no longer exists due to an economic downtown or other circumstances caused by a public health emergency during the period of Emergency FMLA. 

AND

  • The employer has made reasonable attempts to return the employee to an equivalent position. The employer must make efforts to return the employee to work for up to a year following the employee’s leave.

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How Should I Document an Employee FFCRA Leave Request?

Employees are required to provide a specific set of information to the employer when they request paid leave under FFCRA. All employees requesting leave must provide:

  • Their name;
  • The date(s) for which leave is requested;
  • The reason for leave; and
  • A statement that s/he is unable to work because of the reason.

 

Employees who request paid sick leave because they or someone they are caring for are in quarantine or isolation because of a government order or the advice of a healthcare provider must provide:

  • The name of the government entity that issued the quarantine or isolation order OR
  • The name of the healthcare provider who gave the advice AND
  • If the person in quarantine or isolation is not the employee, that person’s name and relation to the employee.

 

Employees who request leave to care for a child whose school or daycare is unavailable must provide:

  • The name of the child being cared for;
  • The name of the school, place of care, or child care provider that has closed or become unavailable; and
  • A statement that no other suitable person is available to care for the child.

IMPORTANT: All requests for FFCRA, whether submitted orally or in writing, must be documented by the employer even if the requests are denied. This documentation must be kept for 4 years.

We know this sounds complicated, but it is actually pretty simple if you have the right documents. CEDR members have access to two customizable CEDR documents that will make this process a breeze:

  1. An FFCRA Leave Request Form  
  2. An FFCRA Leave Approval/Denial Letter  

CEDR Members: To download those forms and get help customizing them, distributing them to your team, and having your employees sign them digitally, contact the HR Solution Center.

Keep in mind that the IRS requires employers to maintain additional documentation to claim tax credits. Read more on this IRS FAQ Page (Question #45).

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Examptions from the Law

This applies to all employers with fewer than 500 employees. However, there are some exemption options if you do not have the cash flow to support providing the pay upfront and then getting it back through a tax reimbursement.

 

Employers with less than 50 employees may be exempted.

Small businesses with fewer than 50 employees may qualify for an exemption from the requirement to provide paid leave due to school closings or child care unavailability if the leave requirements would jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern.

A small business may claim this exemption if an authorized officer of the business has determined that:

  1. The provision of paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave would result in the small business’s expenses and financial obligations exceeding available business revenues and cause the small business to cease operating at a minimal capacity;
  2. The absence of the employee or employees requesting paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave would entail a substantial risk to the financial health or operational capabilities of the small business because of their specialized skills, knowledge of the business, or responsibilities; or
  3. There are not sufficient workers who are able, willing, and qualified, and who will be available at the time and place needed, to perform the labor or services provided by the employee or employees requesting paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave, and these labor or services are needed for the small business to operate at a minimal capacity.

You should not send any materials to the Department of Labor when seeking a small business exemption for paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave.  You should document why your business meets one of the three criteria listed above.

 

Healthcare provider employees may be exempted.

Employers may choose to exempt their healthcare provider and emergency response employees from the paid leave requirements under the law.

The definition of a “health care provider employee” is being broadly defined by the DOL to include “anyone employed at any doctor’s office, hospital, health care center, clinic…” (Please read the full definition here [FAQ #56])

So, for those of you who are owners of dental or medical practices, this means you can potentially exclude all of your employees from paid leave benefits. However, we really do encourage you to consider paying the FFCRA benefits as it will often actually work better in your favor. 

Keep in mind, any health care provider employees who are excluded from paid leave benefits under the Families First Act, would be eligible for unemployment benefits under the CARES Act.

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For additional information, the Department of Labor has issued the following resources:

General FAQ

FAQ for Employers

FAQ for Employees
 

Related Reading:

How to Handle Common COVID Concerns in Your Office

Practical Guidance for Employers Handling the Coronavirus Outbreak

CARES Act: SBA Loans and the Paycheck Protection Program

Unemployment Eligibility Expanded Under the CARES Act

Remote Work Checklist for Employers
 
If you are a Solution Center Member and you have any further questions about how this law will apply to your business, please contact the Solution Center at support@cedrsolutions.com.

If you are not a CEDR Member, and you are a business owner or manager in the healthcare field, join our Private, Professional forum, HR Base Camp, on Facebook for additional guidance.

This post was updated on July 17, 2020. Originally published March 20, 2020.
 
Comments have been temporarily disabled, as we are focusing on responding to questions from our existing CEDR HR Solution Center members. If you would like to learn more about becoming a Solution Center member to gain access to our team of HR professionals, please email us at info@cedrsolutions.com

Friendly Disclaimer: This information is general in nature and is not intended to provide legal advice or replace individual guidance about a specific issue with an attorney or HR expert. The information on this page is general human resources guidance that is believed to be current as of the date of publication. Note that CEDR is not a law firm, and as the law is always changing, you should consult with a qualified attorney or HR expert who is familiar with all of the facts of your situation before making a decision about any human resources or employment law matter.

Comments

  1. AvatarChris says

    When is the new letter coming out of we are going to lay off or employees. If the employees are not on payroll after April 2 none of this applies correct? Since they will be filing for unemployment through the state?

  2. AvatarEric Rossow says

    What if the “healthcare provider that advises an employee to self-quarantine” is my associate dentist trying to look out for the staff? Does that mean the benefit applies and I am now subject to paying sick leave if I do not lay off by April 2nd? That is if medical workers are not exempt.

    • AvatarCEDR Solutions says

      There are several issues embedded in this question. The first one that jumps out to me is your associate dentist’s actions. The associate is not the employee’s medical provider, and so it’s likely a good idea to have a conversation with them about their role as a coworker vs. their role as a practitioner, and where those lines are with what they should be advising to your staff. While it’s fine for people to generally talk about what’s going on, you’re wanting to rely on the employee’s own medical provider when taking recommendations.

      The second issue is the applicability of the new law. We’ve now received a bit of guidance from the Department of Labor. The law is not retroactive, so absences taken before April 1 should not be eligible for the federal emergency sick leave and leaves of absence. Employees who need that time after April 1 would be able to access it if they’re.

      Since you seem to have a lot of questions on this topic, we encourage you to join our private, professional Facebook forum, HR Base Camp. There are many people asking questions like yours in there, as well as nearly 5000 employers and managers engaging in conversations on precisely these topics in that group.

  3. AvatarEric Rossow says

    What if I have an employee who does have a child who’s school is closed but usually has the other spouse staying at home and watching the child most of the time when my employee is at work. Does that mean my employee can still claim the sick leave?

    • AvatarCEDR Solutions says

      The law, and now the new Q&A from the DOL, simply states that the time is available if the employee is caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed, or child care provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19 related reasons. There is no mention in the guidance that they have to be the primary caregiver, but you likely can discuss with the individual employee their circumstances and exact need for the leave. We would caution you before denying leave, as with any new right under a federal law, not granting it could raise risk.

  4. AvatarEric Rossow says

    How at risk am I for trying to keep staff employed but to do so I am rotating multiple staff through the office. If one gets sick than if I have multiple rotating through than yes the others get sick. Can the staff come back on me with causing their sickness? What if working is elective for them? What if I only have one or two working and they get sick at the office? Would I be any more protected or should I just send them all home. If I accidentally say the word quarantine does that set me up for failure or are you preparing “sending you home” letters that use protective verbiage. What if my office manager accidentally says the words “go home and quarantine?”

    • AvatarCEDR Solutions says

      I’m going to start with your last question first. You need to train your office manager on what they should be saying to staff and when to consult with you about the decision to send people home. As far as your liability in staying open, here’s a video we have about that specific question. If you are an owner or manager of a dental or healthcare practice, you can also join the discussion and ask additional questions on our private, professional Facebook forum, HR Base Camp.

  5. AvatarKirti says

    We operate a dental office in PA, wanted some clarity on this law. The law states that “Employees are entitled to use the paid sick time under this law before they begin using any additional paid time off benefits already offered by the employer.”, however PA UC guidelines dictate that paid PTO be taken first because it will be quicker and more pay rate than UC benefits. So employees need to take this leave first, then paid PTO then UC through pa state ?

    • AvatarCEDR Solutions says

      Unemployment is a state managed benefit. The new Families First law is a federally mandated benefit. So, they’re not written to work together and there may be small conflicts like that. I would decide internally as a business whether you’re going to pay out PTO, and then that action will impact employee’s unemployment awards. That decision then happens independently of your obligation to pay out this new federal sick leave requirement, which is now effective April 1. At the end of the day, employees are required to report income they receive to unemployment so that it can be offset against their UI award. Whether that income is from you under the federal sick and leave laws, whether it’s from another state managed benefit (like short term disability), or whether it’s from a second job. If you have additional questions, feel free to join the discussion on our private, professional Facebook forum, HR Base Camp.

  6. AvatarDavid says

    Can you comment or recommend the best modality of documentation to communicate to staff that our office is closed for business and recommend they apply for unemployment?
    Do you have an example that we may adopt?
    What liability does the employee/dentist incur in such case?

    • AvatarCEDR Solutions says

      You’ll find a template letter you can use on our Employer Coronavirus Resource Page under the heading “Staff Furlough/Layoff Template Letter & Final Pay Guide”. If you are an owner or manager of a dental or healthcare practice, you can also join the discussion on our private, professional Facebook forum, HR Base Camp.

  7. AvatarJudy Ehrlich says

    Can you send me the link to the state-by-state list of whether employer must pay out accrued, unused Vacation pay at the time of layoff. Thanks.

    • AvatarCEDR Solutions says

      You’ll find that information on our Employer Coronavirus Resource Page under the heading “Staff Furlough/Layoff Template Letter & Final Pay Guide”. If you are an owner or manager of a dental or healthcare practice, you can also join the discussion and ask additional questions on our private, professional Facebook forum, HR Base Camp.

  8. Avatar says

    We would like to set up a conference call with someone from CEDR on Monday for additional guidance on how to proceed with the information above. Can you please e-mail us with a time you are available to have a conference call?

  9. AvatarKathleen says

    We are an S Corp. Any profit from our dental office is moved onto our personal tax return and as such it is our job to not show a profit at end of year. We spend down assets close to 0 so they are not confiscated in taxes at the 30% rate. Would a tax credit get moved over to our personal tax return? How does that work?

    • AvatarCEDR Solutions says

      The specifics of your question are best posed to a CPA who would be more familiar with the intimate details of your tax and filing obligations. What we can say is that the new regulations released by the DOL about the Families First Act say that covered employers qualify for dollar-for-dollar reimbursement through tax credits for all qualifying wages paid under the FFCRA. They also state that amounts paid for health insurance premiums are also eligible for reimbursement.

      You can also join the discussion and ask additional questions on our private, professional Facebook forum, HR Base Camp.

  10. AvatarGrace Park says

    Hello,

    I am a full time dental hygienist who recently got temporarily laid off due to gov abbot mandating that all licensed health professionals should not provide any elective non emergency procedures to apr 21. I am out of a job now because of COVID 19 but not because I am sick, not because lack of work , not because i have to be quarantined etc.

    I do not have any kids and no family member who is sick that I need to give care for.

    My dental practice is less than 50 people.

    I am wanting to know if this means I am not eligible for this benefit or if I am and if you know how the dr can submit this tax credit later on with what proof to get his tax credits. My dr wants to know so he can correctly provide us his employee’s this PTO and get his tax benefits.
    Please let me know if you can give me some more information on this please.

    Thank you!

    • AvatarCEDR Solutions says

      We are sorry to hear about your situation, and we know this is a time of difficult decisions for both employers and employees. The answer to this question really depends on what ‘temporarily laid off’ looked like for you. If an employee is fully separated from employment, they’re no longer ‘on the books’ and therefore are not eligible for any sick leave or leaves of absence or additional payments from the employer. If it’s more of a practice closure/furlough situation, then the new Families First law does seem to say that amounts paid out to employees under the Families First Act are tax deductible.

      I think your point is that many employees are not going to have symptoms or be subject to school closures, and therefore, what are the options for supporting those folks who don’t qualify for sick leave or emergency leave under the Families First Act. Sit tight and watch for information on the CARES Act, which is still in draft form and currently working its way through Congress. That law is providing forgivable small business loans that may cover things like wages for employees. We won’t know what that option is until the law is finalized.

  11. AvatarAbby says

    I have 28 days PTO and I am in Maryland. The business I work for is shutting down because of the coronavirus. I would rather collect unemployment than use my PTO.
    Can I be forced to use my PTO while other people are collecting unemployment.?
    Thank you!

    • AvatarCEDR Solutions says

      Unfortunately, our guidance is geared toward employers and so we are not able to advise employees on how to proceed. Generally speaking, nobody can *force* you to use your PTO, though employees will probably do best to take advantage of whatever resources they have available to them at this time.

    • AvatarCEDR Solutions says

      Unfortunately, the only way to see that video is to login to Facebook and join our our private, professional Facebook forum for dental and healthcare owners and managers, HR Base Camp. If you do not yet have a Facebook account, you will need to create one and then request access to the Group to see that video.

  12. AvatarAmanda Roberson says

    If an employee is laid off prior to April 2, but due to COVID-19 quarantine, does the 2 weeks of paid sick time still apply? Also, If the employee was paid 80 hours of sick time for the two weeks prior to April 2, would they be entitled to 80 additional hours?

    • AvatarCEDR Solutions says

      If they are separated from employment, they are no longer your employee and are not entitled to those benefits. That means, however, that you as an employer are possibly not eligible for certain loans and/or tax credits, so just be sure to think through this carefully and if you haven’t laid people off, maybe wait until the CARES Act is finalized. Also, just FYI, the new regulations moved the effective date of the Families First law up to April 1.

      If you are an owner or manager of a dental or healthcare practice, feel free to join the discussion with thousands of other business owners and managers and ask additional questions on our private, professional Facebook forum, HR Base Camp.

  13. Avatar says

    Since practically every school is out, it appears that we would be paying anyone who wanted to stay home and care for their kids, no matter their ages. So we would need to pay them for 12 weeks at 80% roughly of their income based on this. And then, as I see it, they can run this claim through summer….where they would have normally worked and found some form of childcare. Now they do not have to. Then I have to bring back this person who took advantage of this loophole, and decided to not work during the busiest time of the year for my business. And I only have 10-12 employees.

    • AvatarCEDR Solutions says

      I’m not sure if you have a specific question about the law, but I get that this is burdensome for employers. One thing that you did not mention is that the Families First law does say that the Secretary of Labor may grant hardship exemptions for employers with less than 50 employees. They have not released details on how you get this exemption, but watch for more information about that in the coming days – you may be eligible for an exemption.

      You might benefit from joining the discussion and asking additional questions of the nearly 5000 members and HR experts in our private, professional Facebook forum, HR Base Camp.

  14. AvatarRose says

    My daughter works for Genesis Healthcare, as a PTA and is currently under home quarantine awaiting COVID19 results. The company has more than 500 employees. Is this law saying she will not be covered for 80 hours of sick time and has to use her accrued sick time for pay??

    • AvatarCEDR Solutions says

      Right. The Families First law is only for those with 500 or fewer employees. She may still be eligible for another form of leave under an employer program, or even under the existing FMLA. She should talk to her HR department about her options.

  15. Avatar says

    If we are less than 50 employees and pay out the FMLA to our employees that meet the criteria and the Secretary of Labor decides to exempt employers with less than 50 employees, would we be able to recoup this money through the tax credits?

    Do the employees have to request to be paid for this money or do we automatically just have to give it to them?

    • AvatarCEDR Solutions says

      The law says tax credits are available for the amounts paid out under the Families First requirements. You do not automatically pay your employees – they need to request either the sick leave or the leave of absence. You would then document the leave and then pay them during the dates they need off. Since you are less than 50 employees you may be able to apply for a hardship exemption with the Secretary of Labor, but they have not released any guidance on how employers can do this yet, so we don’t know the mechanics of that yet.

      If you are an owner or manager of a dental or healthcare practice, you can also join the discussion and ask additional questions on our private, professional Facebook forum, HR Base Camp.

  16. AvatarShali jaha Shaik says

    Hey,I would like to ask you a concern about this act,what about if the employer has more than 500 employees?

    • AvatarCEDR Solutions says

      If you have more than 500 employees you are not subject to this new law. You would have already been subject to other laws, like the existing Family and Medical Leave Act, and so you’d still want to consider those other forms of leave for your employees who need time off.

      If you are an owner or manager of a dental or healthcare practice, join the discussion and ask additional questions on our private, professional Facebook forum, HR Base Camp.

  17. Avatar says

    I have a cosmetic and general dental practice in Corpus Christi Tx. Gov Abbot signed a mandate that all medical/dental offices stop all elective procedures and only do emergency care effective since last Monday 3/23/20 to 4/21/20. I personally see only1or 2 emergency patients a week but the rest of the staff of 15 stay at home because of the closure. I am paying the staff their accrued sick leave and vacation time during this closure. After that, am I able to utilize the 80hr of federally available sick leave fo my staff? Is quarantine the same as a shelter in place order? Our city will be giving a shelter in place order in the next couple of days and most all businesses are closed due to covid19

    • AvatarCEDR Solutions says

      That’s a lot of questions! Let’s go through them one by one. After April 1, it does sound like your staff would be able to tap into the federal sick leave and emergency leave time, if they qualify. We are not experts on the “quarantine” and “shelter-in-place” terminology, since this isn’t really a “human resources” issue. My understanding is that “shelter-in-place” is put forth by a state or local government, and that the term “quarantine” is more of a term put forth by a medical professional. You can call your local health officials if you need clarification on the terms that are being applied in your specific industry and area. We have a list of state resource on our Employer Coronavirus Resources Page which might be helpful.

      If you are an owner or manager of a dental or healthcare practice, you can also join the discussion and ask additional questions on our private, professional Facebook forum, HR Base Camp.

  18. Avatar says

    I have 3 full time and 2 part time employees. Our last day treating patients with all staff (like a regular day) was March 18th. We are open Monday through Thursday. I and one full time assistant have been coning into the office to answer phones and see emergencies. We are returning back to work (with hygiene) on April 1st. As of March 19th, the other two full time employees and both part time employees were told to collect unemployment through March 31st. As I anticipate being much, much slower I will have to take one of the full time employees and make her a part time employee and take my part time assistant and keep her laid off until I get busier. Am I correct in interpreting that both of these employees will qualify for unemployment? and that they do not qualify for the FMLA because they are not working due to them not having to stay home to care for children/family member or quarantined?

    • AvatarCEDR Solutions says

      They are able to apply for unemployment due to any reduction in hours. We do recommend not guaranteeing that they’ll be “eligible” or to say what/when they’ll be awarded. As far as FMLA eligibility, there are two categories of time: (1) emergency sick leave and (2) emergency leave time. We outline the purposes for each category of leave above. If they do not fall into any of the purposes listed out, then they would not be eligible for either form of leave.

      Feel free to join the discussion and ask additional questions on our private, professional Facebook forum, HR Base Camp. There are about 5000 other dental and medical professionals in there asking similar questions and discussing their options with our team and each other. Stay safe!

  19. AvatarAngela Eckstrom says

    If employees are voluntarily furloughed prior to April 1, 2020 because they primarily work in school that is closed, do we need to call them back by April 1,2020 to get the tax credit for our other employees? Thanks for your help!

    • AvatarCEDR Solutions says

      From your question, it sounds like the following is true:

      You have some employees who are furloughed, i.e. they completely stopped working prior to 4/1/19.

      You have some other employees who have continued working throughout this period and will likely continue to do so after 4/1/19.

      Based on these facts, you are asking whether the employees who are “furloughed” need to start working again, before 4/1/20, for your other employees, who have continued working, to be eligible for paid leave benefits under FFCRA?

      If this is the question, the answer is no. The employees who are furloughed will not be eligible for paid leave benefits under FFCRA, but they should apply for unemployment benefits. They employees who have continued working, will be eligible for paid leave benefits under FFCRA.

      You will be able to receive tax credits for leave benefits paid out to employees who qualify in accordance with the law, even if you have some employees furloughed.

      If you are an owner or manager of a dental or healthcare practice, you might benefit from joining the discussion on our private, professional Facebook forum, HR Base Camp. There are more than 6500 of your peers and colleagues in that group talking about questions like this one.

  20. AvatarLauren says

    I am a physical therapist and my son’s school is closed indefinitely (he is 5.) my company says as healthcare providers physical therapy companies are exempt. I am trying to get clarification on the definition of healthcare provider but cannot find one. Do I just assume they are giving me the correct information? My husband is also required to work so we have no childcare now.

  21. AvatarKatrina Stevens says

    How does this work for Federal Employees? That fall under Title II FMLA. There doesn’t seem to be much guidance.

    • AvatarCEDR Solutions says

      As a private B2B company, our guidance and area of expertise are limited to employers in the private sector. That said, guidance from the Department of Labor states that employers who are subject to the FMLA under Title II are not subject to the expanded family and medical leave provisions of the FFCRA; however, they are covered by the paid sick leave provision. Here’s a link to the DOL page offering this information.

  22. AvatarCourtney says

    Hello, Does the 80 hours have to be used in a 2 week period? For example, we have had our hours cut from 40 hours a week to 15 hours a week for “minimum essential operations” and we are under a shelter in place, can we use the 80 hours over several weeks to make up for hours lost or will it only last over a 2 week period and then be gone? Thanks!

    • AvatarCEDR Solutions says

      I believe you are referring to the “80 hours” of emergency paid sick leave mentioned in this blog. Employees are only eligible for that leave under certain circumstances related to being sick or quarantined as a direct result of the coronavirus — it is not available to be used like paid vacation time or for illnesses other than coronavirus. If you are not sick with coronavirus / quarantined or caring for a loved one who is sick with coronavirus / quarantined or a child whose school has been closed, the leave available to you will depend on the laws in your state and your employer’s paid leave policies. Your reduction in hours may mean you are eligible for unemployment benefits, however. You can find a link to your state’s office on our coronavirus resource page.

  23. AvatarJane Milton says

    I was sick for three weeks prior to March 29th. Told by several doctors to stay home, I did, my work advised me to take advance sick leave to cover the time I was out sick. I work for the federal government, as a correctional officer. Do I qualify for the 80 hours of emergency leave?

    • AvatarCEDR Solutions says

      As a business-to-business HR provider, our area of expertise is actually in the private sector on the employer side of things. That said, Emergency Paid Sick Leave is available only to individuals who are directly infected with COVID-19 or are otherwise forced to quarantine as a result of the coronavirus after April 1, 2020. The paid leave benefits under the law are not retroactive. This means that you would not be eligible for these benefits for any sick leave you took prior to April 1, 2020. Also, this poster from the DOL explains that you qualify for emergency sick leave if you come down with COVID-19 or are forced to quarantine because you were showing symptoms of the disease or awaiting test results; therefore, you would likely not qualify for sick leave taken due to a different illness if you’ve already exhausted the non-emergency sick leave provided by your employer. I’d urge you to double check with your employer since this is outside the normal scope of our guidance. Best of luck!

  24. AvatarAna says

    I have an employee who’s been constantly out since before the COVID-19. Now, she’s using COVID-19 and claiming she’s not able to come to work because her sitter had an emergency and her children school is closed. Her children ages are 16, 15, 13, and 11. I read that in CA it applies to 14 and under, is that correct?

    • AvatarCEDR Solutions says

      FFCRA is a federal law, so it is important to look to guidance from the DOL — not state law — on what constitutes a child under the law. According to this FAQ from the DOL, FFCRA leave may be taken to care for a child who is under the age of 18 (or for an adult child 18 years of age or older with a disability), if the child’s school, place of care or child care provider is closed or unavailable due to COVID-19 related reasons, and the employee is unable to work or telework as a result.

  25. AvatarTeresa Fisher says

    911 dispatchers who need to quarantine because of a contact situation. Is the 911 center who does not file taxes and can not get a tax credit still expected to give paid leave? What if the employee has accrued sick and vacation days they can use?

    • AvatarCEDR Solutions says

      In this case we would not really be able to give a definitive answer, as the governmental nature of your business may subject it to a variety of regulations we’re not aware of.

  26. AvatarMegan Murray says

    I understand we are required to post the FMLA poster in the office or send it directly to the staff correct? If the employer qualifies as exempt with 2/3 bullet points should we also post information about our exemption?

    • AvatarCEDR Solutions says

      Employers must post this notice in a conspicuous place on the premises. If your office is closed and your employees are teleworking, you can satisfy this requirement by emailing or direct mailing this notice to employees, or posting this notice on an employee information internal or external website.

      We do not recommend that you post any exemptions you may qualify for as well. Instead, you should address requests for FFCRA leave as you receive them and explain any applicable exemptions on an individual basis.

  27. AvatarDavid says

    I am a laid off union employee not furloughed, and my company calls me to work for a day here and there. I have a minor child and am a single parent. Since i’m technically laid off but my company continues to try and work me when its convenient for them. Do I qualify for the leave?

    • AvatarCEDR Solutions says

      Since you are a union employee, you would want to discuss this issue with your union representative to see what your options are. There may be a variety of union rules that apply to your situation that we would not be aware of.

  28. AvatarBeatrice Martinez says

    If I have bad allergies and my employer sent me home on a 2 week quarantine, do I qualify for paid time off under family first coronavirus response act? Yes, he did use the word quarantine.

    • AvatarCEDR Solutions says

      This is actually a pretty tricky question. Per the article above, “The law only applies to certain coronavirus related absences.”

      1. Subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19;
      2. Advised by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine due to COVID-19 concerns;
      3. Experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking medical diagnosis;

      In this case, #3 may be applicable to you because your allergy symptoms may be similar to COVID symptoms and you may want to seek a medical diagnosis. As the DOL explains (FAQ #62), “If you become ill with COVID-19 symptoms, you may take paid sick leave under the FFCRA only to seek a medical diagnosis or if a health care provider otherwise advises you to self-quarantine. If you test positive for the virus associated with COVID-19 or are advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine, you may continue to take paid sick leave. You may not take paid sick leave under the FFCRA if you unilaterally decide to self-quarantine for an illness without medical advice, even if you have COVID-19 symptoms. Note that you may not take paid sick leave under the FFCRA if you become ill with an illness not related to COVID-19.”

      Therefore, you may be able to use FFCRA leave to seek medical diagnosis confirming that you have allergies, not the virus. But, after that, you would not be eligible for FFCRA. At that point, you may want to provide your employer with a note from your doctor clearing you to return to work.