Families First Coronavirus Response Act: New Guidance Released on H.R. 6201

We have received welcome guidance on a few of the most commonly asked questions from employers surrounding the “Families First Coronavirus Response Act” (H.R. 6201).

It was quickly determined that the initial text of the bill, which was signed into law on March 18, did not provide enough clarity for employers to properly implement the new provisions.

The Department of Labor (DOL) acknowledged this and announced that more information would be provided, which is now available here.

We’ve highlighted some of the most pertinent points below, and you can find the full list of FAQs here:

  • What is the effective date of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which includes the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act and the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act?

The FFCRA’s paid leave provisions are effective on April 1, 2020, and apply to leave taken between April 1, 2020, and December 31, 2020.

  • Are the paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave requirements retroactive?

No.

  • As an employer, how do I know if my business is under the 500-employee threshold and therefore must provide paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave?

For the DOL guidance, click here and reference question two.

Here are a few questions and answers posed from the employee perspective that provides guidance for employers as well.

  • Can my employer deny me paid sick leave if my employer gave me paid leave for a reason identified in the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act prior to the Act going into effect?

No. The Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act imposes a new leave requirement on employers that is effective beginning on April 1, 2020.

  • How do I know whether I have “been employed for at least 30 calendar days by the employer” for purposes of expanded family and medical leave?

You are considered to have been employed by your employer for at least 30 calendar days if your employer had you on its payroll for the 30 calendar days immediately prior to the day your leave would begin. For example, if you want to take leave on April 1, 2020, you would need to have been on your employer’s payroll as of March 2, 2020.

If you have been working for a company as a temporary employee, and the company subsequently hires you on a full-time basis, you may count any days you previously worked as a temporary employee toward this 30-day eligibility period.

The DOL also released information on the employer paid leave requirements found here.  There is a notice requirement which is expected to be released today.

Seeking more on COVID-19? Visit our resource page for the latest updates from our team.

Michelle Cammayo

About Michelle Cammayo

Michelle Cammayo has more than 13 years of Employee Benefits experience specializing in all lines of health and welfare benefits. Today, Michelle works closely with clients and partners to provide guidance in areas of the law including ERISA, HIPAA, COBRA, FMLA and PPACA. She also oversees the Compliance Department at Bolton & Company to ensure we are helping our clients manage and eliminate risk with regards to employee benefit compliance.

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