COVID-19 Daily News

Department of Labor Issues Temporary Rule on Families First Coronavirus Response Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) took effect Wednesday, and the Department of Labor has released a temporary rule 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 will remain in effect through Dec. 31, 2020.

According to the attorneys at Royal, P.C., 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, 10 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 applicable only if the employer can demonstrate that such leave would jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern.

While the new regulations 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, contact attorney Amy Royal at [email protected], (413) 586-2288, or (413) 695-1075. Attorney Fred Royal is also available to answer any questions, including tax questions related to these issues; he can be reached at (413) 586-2288 or (413) 552-7029.

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