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The Department of Labor Releases a Temporary Rule on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act

Published:  April 1, 2020

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) took effect today and the Department of Labor has just released a temporary rule that was intended to shed some light on the trickier pieces of the law, such as calculating the total number of employees at a company, calculating “partial pay,” and the application of the small employer exemption.  The temporary rule takes effect today and remains in effect through December 31, 2020.  The temporary rule is attached in PDF format to the bottom of this page.

The FFCRA created two new emergency paid leave requirements: the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act and the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act.  The Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act requires covered employers to provide up to 80 hours of sick leave to employees at full pay for qualifying reasons.  The Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act requires covered employers to provide up to 12 weeks of expanded FMLA, ten of which are paid at partial pay.  A covered employer is an employer that employs fewer than 500 employees.  Employers may avail themselves of certain tax reimbursements under the law through refundable tax credits.

Small employers (under 50 employees) may be eligible for an exemption from having to provide an employee with paid sick leave and expanded family medical leave when the leave would be to care for the employee’s child whose school or place of care is closed.  This limited exemption is only applicable if the employer can demonstrate that such leave would jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern. 

While the regulations issued today are intended to provide guidance on the law, many of the components of its application (calculations of pay, tax credits, the counting of employees, and the possible exemptions) are quite complex and there still are many gray areas. 

If you have any questions about navigating the requirements of the FFCRA and its regulations, please contact Amy Royal via email or by phone at either 413-586-2288 or 413-695-1075.  Attorney Fred Royal is also available to answer any questions as well, including tax questions related to these issues.  Fred can be reached by phone at either 413-586-2288 or 413-552-7029.   

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