On March 19, 2020, the President signed and enacted the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (HR6201) in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The Bill includes two new laws relating to employee leave from work: 1) the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act, which expands FMLA coverage to provide leave to employees who are unable to work (including those who are unable to telework) because their child’s school or place of care is closed, or the child’s child care provider is unavailable, due to the coronavirus pandemic, and 2) the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act, which provides up to 80 hours of paid sick leave for individuals affected by coronavirus. Both laws apply to all employers with at least 1 employee and fewer than 500 employees and all public agencies. Please note that both the Emergency FMLA and the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act allow an employer of an employee who is a health care provider or an emergency responder to exclude the employee from emergency sick leave. The Emergency FMLA also provides the Department of Labor with authority to exempt employers with fewer than 50 employees from the Act.
The Bill will take effect 15 days from the date of enactment and will expire on December 31, 2020. The Department of Labor has recently advanced the effective date of the pertinent employment related provisions (the Emergency FMLA) and the (Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act) of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to April 1, 2020 instead of April 2, 2020.
Please contact us for further information and /or guidance on these new laws.