Families First Coronavirus Response Act Comm 2020.03.18

(Infor­ma­tion accu­rate as of March 18th, 2020)
It is our hope at MACKEY to con­tin­ue bring­ing val­ue-added con­ver­sa­tions to our clients and prospects as it relates to an ever-chang­ing busi­ness cli­mate that we are in.  Today’s com­men­tary address­es con­cerns busi­ness­es have relat­ed to man­dates under the soon-to-be passed leg­is­la­tion known as Fam­i­lies First Coro­n­avirus Response Act, that expands require­ments around paid sick time for employ­ees to care for them­selves or fam­i­ly mem­bers affect­ed by COVID-19.  As of March 17th, 2020, The House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives has passed the Bill and the Sen­ate is poised to take up the mat­ter imme­di­ate­ly.

As a small busi­ness own­er here is what you need to know:

  1. You are now sub­ject to FMLA com­pli­ance for the Coro­n­avirus Response only
  2. You will be required to pay sick leave of at least 2/3rds the employee’s salary
  3. You will receive a tax cred­it back for the sick leave paid each cal­en­dar quar­ter (April, July, Octo­ber, Jan­u­ary)
  4. The Depart­ment of Labor has the abil­i­ty to exempt small busi­ness­es if they can show this would cause finan­cial hard­ship

The US Cham­ber of Com­merce,  Inc.com & Littler.com have great sum­maries on the bill.

A sum­ma­ry of the Sick Leave pro­vi­sions are pro­vid­ed below:

SICK LEAVE

An employ­er shall pro­vide to each employ­ee employed by the employ­er paid sick time to the extent that the employ­ee is unable to work (or tele­work) due to a need for leave because:

  • The employ­ee is sub­ject to a Fed­er­al, State, or local quar­an­tine or iso­la­tion order relat­ed to COVID-19.
  • The employ­ee has been advised by a health care provider to self-quar­an­tine due to con­cerns relat­ed to COVID-19.
  • The employ­ee is expe­ri­enc­ing symp­toms of COVID-19 and seek­ing a med­ical diag­no­sis.
  • The employ­ee is car­ing for a son or daugh­ter of such employ­ee if the school or place of care of the son or daugh­ter has been closed, or the child­care provider of such son or daugh­ter is unavail­able, due to COVID-19 pre­cau­tions.
  • The employ­ee is expe­ri­enc­ing any oth­er sub­stan­tial­ly sim­i­lar con­di­tion to COVID-19, except that an employ­er of an employ­ee who is a health care provider or an emer­gency respon­der may elect to exclude such employ­ee from the appli­ca­tion of such leave.

The amount of hours of paid sick time to which an employ­ee is enti­tled shall be as fol­lows:

  • For full-time employ­ees, 80 hours.
  • For part-time employ­ees, a num­ber of hours equal to the num­ber of hours that such employ­ee works, on aver­age, over a 2‑week peri­od.
  • Paid sick time under this Act shall not car­ry over from 1 year to the next.
  • Paid sick time pro­vid­ed to an employ­ee under this Act shall cease begin­ning with the employee’s next sched­uled work­shift fol­low­ing the return of child to school or child­care or recov­ery from COVID-19 and under­ly­ing con­di­tions..
  • An employ­er may not require, as a con­di­tion of pro­vid­ing paid sick time under this Act, that the employ­ee involved search for or find a replace­ment employ­ee to cov­er the hours dur­ing which the employ­ee is using paid sick time.
  • The paid sick time under the Act shall be avail­able for imme­di­ate use by the employ­ee for the pur­pos­es described, regard­less of how long the employ­ee has been employed by an employ­er.
  • An employ­ee may first use the paid sick time for the 10 day peri­od
  • An employ­er may not require an employ­ee to use oth­er paid leave pro­vid­ed by the employ­er to the employ­ee before the employ­ee uses the paid sick time under the Act.
  • Each employ­er shall post and keep post­ed, in con­spic­u­ous places on the premis­es of the employ­er where notices to employ­ees are cus­tom­ar­i­ly post­ed, a notice, to be pre­pared or approved by the Sec­re­tary of Labor, of the require­ments described in this Act will be avail­able not lat­er than 7 days after the date of enact­ment of this Act.
  • It shall be unlaw­ful for any employ­er to dis­charge, dis­ci­pline, or in any oth­er man­ner dis­crim­i­nate against any employ­ee who takes leave in accor­dance with this Act; and has filed any com­plaint or insti­tut­ed or caused to be insti­tut­ed any pro­ceed­ing under or relat­ed to this Act (includ­ing a pro­ceed­ing that seeks

TAX CREDIT

The Bill pro­vides a tax cred­it to cov­er the costs.  The cred­it is applied to the tax the com­pa­ny or non­prof­it nor­mal­ly pays for each employee’s Social Secu­ri­ty.  This is the 6.2 per­cent tax employ­ers pay on each employee’s salary.   If sick leave ends up cost­ing more than the Social Secu­ri­ty bill, the U.S. gov­ern­ment will send the employ­er a check to cov­er the remain­ing costs.  The Bill caps the amount of paid sick leave at $511 per day and $5,110 in the aggre­gate for an employ­ee’s own ill­ness or quar­an­tine, and $200 per day and $2,000 in the aggre­gate for any oth­er qual­i­fy­ing rea­son.

TIME PERIOD

The Act, and the require­ments under this Act, shall take effect no lat­er than 15 days after the date of enact­ment of this Act.  The Act, and the require­ments under this Act, shall expire on Decem­ber 31, 2020.