• Justin Whittaker

COVID-19 Relief Bill Temporarily Expands Family and Medical Leave

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), enacted as part of the national response to COVID-19, requires employers to allow employees expanded family and medical leave for reasons related to the coronavirus.

The new law temporarily expands the reach of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which applies to all private employers with at least 50 employees who worked at least 20 weeks during the current or prior calendar year. Employees seeking FMLA leave generally must have worked at least 1,250 hours during the prior year.

The FFCRA includes the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act, under which private employers with up to 500 employees and certain public employers must provide the following though December 31, 2020:

  • Family and medical leave — Up to 10 weeks of paid leave (plus two unpaid weeks) at two-thirds the employee’s rate of pay to employees who cannot work because he or she has a child whose school or daycare provider is closed due to COVID-19. This is called public health emergency leave. The maximum amount of emergency leave compensation is $200 per day and $10,000 total.

  • Paid sick leave for employee illness — 80 hours of paid sick leave at the employee’s full rate of pay if the employee cannot work due to quarantine and/or is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.

  • Paid sick leave to care for a loved one — 80 hours of paid sick leave at two-thirds the employee’s rate of pay if he or she cannot work because of the need to care for an individual who is quarantined or to care for a child whose school or day care is closed due to COVID-19.

Every employee, regardless of tenure, is eligible for two weeks of paid sick time for COVID-19 reasons. In addition, employees who have been with the company for at least 30 days are eligible for the additional 10 weeks of paid leave. Public health emergency leave is available only to those affected by the coronavirus.

Certain employers with under 50 employees may be exempt from the new paid leave requirements.

Whittaker Law can advise your business on all COVID-19 paid leave provisions. Please call us at 513-259-3758 or info@whittakerlawfirm.com to set up a virtual or in-person consultation in our Over-the-Rhine office.

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