FFCRA Back-to-School Review

I am writing today’s post while wearing three hats, thankfully I have amazing balance! Seriously, though, today’s post is written as a lawyer and employer but also as a mom. The start of school is just around the corner, and many of us still don’t know what the plan is for reopening in our district.

What I do know, is that the Families First Coronavirus Response Act is still in effect until December 31. Let’s take a quick look back at some of the highlights of the law:

A. Paid Emergency Sick Leave

All Employers who employ less than 500 employees must provide paid sick leave to employees unable to work due to:

  1. Government ordered quarantine or isolation for COVID-19;
  2. Health care provider advised self-quarantine for COVID-19 concerns;
  3. The Employee experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking diagnosis;
  4. The Employee caring for an individual under 1 or 2, above;
  5. The Employee caring for their son or daughter whose school or childcare provider center is closed or unavailable due to COVID-19 precautions.

B. Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act

All employers who employ less than 500 employees, even if they ordinarily would not be subject to the FMLA, must provide time off to employees (who have worked for the employer for at least 30 days prior to the leave) to care for their child home due to COVID-19 related school or childcare center closures (similar to 5, above). This leave:

  1. May be unpaid for the first 10 days of leave taken (but employees may elect to use any other accrued paid leave); 
  2. Must be paid thereafter, up to 12 weeks, at 2/3 of the employee’s regular pay rate, up to $200 per day, and $10,000 in total. 

If you want to read more about the FFCRA, I looked at it in even greater detail when it was passed.

The provision that stands out for me, with school approaching, is A5. If you have an employee who did not use all of their EFMLA in the spring, they could use it now. However, if the school is open and a parent/employee chooses virtual school, they most likely would not be eligible for EMFLA. As always, there are exceptions.

I know we are all struggling to find balance as parents and employers, so if I can help lighten your load a little with clarity regarding this or anything else related to your business, please reach out! If you want help getting your kids to eat broccoli, you are on your own!

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMERS:
1. The information above does not constitute legal advice, nor does it create an attorney-client relationship. Please consult your attorney with specific questions.
2. As this situation is constantly changing, we will make every effort to stay current on this topic, however this information is provided as general guidance and may not apply to your situation, nor should it be relied upon exclusively. Please consult and confirm with your attorney if you have questions about these updates or their applicability.  
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