MANDATORY NOTICE FOR EMPLOYEES
Families First Coronavirus Response Act
On March 24, 2020 the US Dept of Labor issued Q&As on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (see our original blog post: Urgent HR Law COVID-19) pending publishing of formal regulations and published a mandatory notice that must be provided to all employees.
As a reminder, the bill provided for a number of relief actions; however, this update will focus on the 2 directly related to employers and employees:
Effective Dates – Although we originally expected the laws to take effect on April 2, both will be in effect on April 1, 2020.
Employer Coverage – As the laws apply to companies with fewer than 500 employees, how do employers assess their headcount?
Exemptions – The laws allow employers with fewer than 50 employees to be exempt if compliance would jeopardize the viability of the business. We’ve had many, many questions asking for details about how such an exemption would be obtained. For now, the DOL advises businesses to document why your business would meet the criteria and have promised more details in the upcoming regulations. They have asked that no one send any information at the current time to the DOL.
Pay During Emergency Paid Sick Leave
Regular Rate of Pay – Both types of leaves must use an hourly employee’s “regular rate of pay” when calculating pay. For purposes of FFCRA this will be the average of the employee’s regular rate over a period of up to 6 months prior to the date on which the leave commences. Keep in mind that the regular rate of pay must factor in all additional forms of non-discretionary compensation such as commissions, tips, piece rates, etc.
Multiple Reasons to use Emergency Paid Sick Leave – If an employee takes 80 hours of emergency paid sick leave for one permissible reason such as caring for him/herself due to being ill with COVID-19, the person will have exhausted all available leave and would not be entitled to another 80 hours even if there is then another qualifying reason to take leave such as caring for a quarantined family member.
Coordination of Extended FMLA and Emergency Paid Sick Leave – Extended FMLA is available for up to 12 weeks if an employee cannot work or “telework” due to needing to care for a child whose school or childcare is not available due to COVID-19. The first 10 days of this leave would be unpaid during which time the employee could use existing sick or PTO but could also use the new Emergency Paid Sick days. Using any other paid time off available during these initial 10 days does not increase the maximum about of time off of 12 weeks.
More Questions – We all still have so many more questions on this new law but are hopeful that the promised regulations will answer them. In the meantime, please reach out to us at Vantaggio for help understanding this new, complex law and or any assistance with what this means for your specific circumstances and staff.
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