The new Families First Coronavirus Response Act (the “Act”), which became law on March 18, 2020, provides that employers with less than 500 employees must:
1) Allow employees up to 12 weeks of Paid Family Leave who are unable to work (or telework) because their child’s school has been closed or the childcare provider is unavailable due to the coronavirus:
- Employee must have worked for at least 30 days and the child must be under 18 years old.
- First 10 days of leave may be unpaid, but must be paid two-thirds of regular rate of pay for rest of leave (up to 10 weeks, but not to exceed $200 per day and $10,000 in the aggregate).
- During the initial 10 days, an employee may elect to substitute any accrued vacation leave, personal leave, medical or sick leave for unpaid leave, or an employer may require use of such time.
2) Pay employees up to two weeks (80 hours) of sick leave at the employee's regular rate of pay if employees is unable to work because:
- The employee is subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine order because of COVID-19;
- The employee has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine;
- The employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and is seeking a medical diagnosis;
- The employee is caring for an individual who is subject to a quarantine or who has been advised to self-quarantine; or
- The employee is caring for a child, if the child’s school has been closed, or the child care provider is unavailable.
There are other detailed limitations and the U.S. Department of Labor will issue regulations by April 2, 2020 indicating how such leave is to be taken. The law will be enforced under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Employers will be given a payroll tax credit equal to 100% of the sick leave paid to employees.