Insights

A High-Level Overview: Family First Coronavirus Response Act

March 20, 2020

In an effort to keep you as informed as possible, here are the high-level bullet points related to the Family First Coronavirus Response Act, which was passed in the Senate last night and signed by President Trump.  It will take effect on April 2, 2020 and will sunset on December 31, 2020.

Essentially, the bill guarantees testing or coverage for testing for coronavirus, extends tax payment (not filing) deadlines, and expands the FMLA coverage (see below).  While not addressed in this bill, there are talks of stimulus payments coming in subsequent bills (i.e., these are the $1000 payment per citizen talks).

Here are the quick business-related bullet points from an article in Inc.com (https://www.inc.com/suzanne-lucas/what-senates-passage-of-families-first-coronavirus-response-act-means-for-you.html).

Qualifying for coverage.

The bill covers all companies with up to 500 employees. There is no 50 person minimum with the typical Family Medical Leave Act, and self-employed people can see some benefits.

There are six qualifying reasons for coverage under this bill. The National Law Review Describes them as follows:

  1. The employee is subject to a federal, state or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19;
  2. The employee has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19;
  3. The employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking medical diagnosis;
  4. The employee is caring for an individual who is subject to a federal, state or local quarantine order, or the individual has been advised to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19;
  5. The employee is caring for the employee’s son or daughter, if the child’s school or child care facility has been closed or the child’s care provider is unavailable due to COVID-19 precautions; or
  6. The employee is experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by Health and Human Services in consultation with the Department of the Treasury and the Department of Labor.

Benefits for Employees

  • Normal FMLA is unpaid, but under the FFCRA, employees who are on sick leave because they are sick can receive their full pay, up to $511 per day, or $5110 total.
  • Leave taken to care for children whose schools or daycares have closed is paid at two-thirds the employee’s regular rate of pay, with a maximum of $200 per day or $10,000 total.
  • Employers cannot force you to use up your vacation or other sick time before receiving this benefit.
  • There is a ten-day waiting period before this benefit applies. Employees can use existing sick or vacation time to cover these days.

Benefits for Employers

  • Employers receive tax credits for 100 percent of what they pay out to employees, with the above-noted limits.
  • For employers with 50 or fewer employees, the Secretary of Labor can exempt the business from these requirements.  However, in order to be exempt, the imposition of this Bill’s requirements would have to jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern.  As of this email, we are not certain as to the process to seek an exemption.  Once we get clarification, we will send it out.  A business owner should weigh the costs of complying with the requirements versus the cost of seeking an exemption.
  • Employers with fewer than 25 employees do not have to restore employees to their previous positions.

Please contact us if you have any questions related to this or other business-related topics.

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