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Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) & NYS Emergency Paid Leave

The federal government passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act aimed at addressing the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak and introducing paid sick leave and an expanded family and medical leave act. 

Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) effective April 2, 2020, and ends December 31, 2020.

This federal legislation provides paid emergency family leave as well as paid sick leave for people affected by COVID-19 who cannot work or telework.

FFCRA applies to businesses with under 500 employees, but there may be some exemptions.

FFCRA has 3 sections:

  • Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act
  • Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act
  • Tax Credits for Paid Sick and Paid Family and Medical Leave

Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act

  • Up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave for full and p/t employees who have been employed for 30 calendar days
  • An employee unable to work either onsite or remotely because the employee needs to care for a child since school or childcare provider is closed due to COVID-19
  • First 10 days are unpaid – employees can use other paid leave
  • Next 10 weeks is paid leave
    • Paid at two-thirds the Regular Rate of Pay – Capped at $200 per day, $10,000 for 2020
    • For part-time employees with variable hours each week, paid leave would be equal to the average number of hours worked per day over the previous six months
    • If less than six months of work history then calculate with reasonable expectation of the employee at the time of hiring

Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act

Employers with less than 500 employees will have to provide up to 80 hours of paid sick leave benefits for all employees regardless of how long employed and who are unable to work or telework if they meet one of 6 conditions of either care of self or caring for others:

  1. Has been ordered by the government to quarantine or isolate because of COVID-19.
  2. Has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine because of COVID-19.
  3. Has symptoms of COVID-19 and is seeking a medical diagnosis.
  4. Is caring for someone who is subject to a government quarantine or isolation order or has been advised by a health care provider to quarantine or self-isolate.
  5. Needs to care for a son or daughter whose school or child care service is closed due to COVID-19 precautions.
  6. Is experiencing any other substantially similar conditions as specified by the secretary of health and human services, in consultation with the secretaries of labor and treasury. 

Regular Rate of Pay capped at $511 per day up to $5,110 total per employee for their own use of sick leave.

Two-thirds the Regular Rate of Pay capped at $200 per day up to $2,000 total to care for others.

Tax Credits for Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act and Emergency Paid Sick Leave

  • Credit equal to 100% of the leave paid
  • Credit is increased by specified health plan premiums and employer portion of Medicare tax
  • The tax credit effectively offsets the amount of federal employment taxes

Look for Gettry Marcus Tax Group news on applicable Tax Credits.

New York State Paid Leave Law

Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a new bill into law to provide sick leave and job protection for New York workers. The New York State Paid Leave for COVID-19 is effective immediately.

The law provides sick leave and job protection for people affected by COVID-19 who are quarantined and isolated and cannot work nor telecommute.

The leave is dependent on the company’s size as of 1/1/2020 and 2019 net annual income.

Note:

  • NYS Disability can run concurrently with traditional NYS Paid Family Leave
  • Sick leave without loss of other sick leave employee may have accrued
  • Employee must be restored to prior position with same terms and conditions
  • Prohibits discrimination or retaliation for use of leave
  • No paid leave if quarantine is a result of travel subject to CDC Level 2 or 3 Alert

Resources

Department OF Labor News Release: https://www.dol.gov/newsroom/releases/whd/whd20200324

FFCRA Employer’s Fact Sheet: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-employer-paid-leave

ADP Eye on Washington Legislative Update: www.adp.com/regulatorynews

NYS Government Website: https://paidfamilyleave.ny.gov/covid19

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