The Final Countdown

In the midst of chaotic uncertainty, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (the “Act”) provides some families with a modicum of financial safety. The Act expires on December 31, 2020.

The Act provides that certain employers are required to compensate employees for Coronavirus-related absences. The duration of the leave and amount paid to the employee is based on the Coronavirus-related reason for the absence.

For example, if a full-time employee is advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine, the employee is eligible for 80 hours of leave with either their regular rate of pay or the applicable minimum wage (whichever is higher) up to $511.00 per day and $5,100.00 in the aggregate.

Conversely, if a full-time employee is caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed due to the Coronavirus, the employee is eligible for up to 12 weeks of leave (2 weeks of which will be paid sick leave followed by 10 weeks of paid expanded family and medical leave). The employee taking leave for this reason is entitled to pay at 2/3 their regular rate or 2/3 the applicable minimum wage, whichever is higher, up to $200.00 per day and $12,000 in the aggregate (over a 12-week period).

Employers also have a modicum of security to ensure that their interests are protected as well. In fact, the Act only applies to certain employers.

Employers who are subject to the Act are entitled to know, and should document the following:

  • The name of the employee requesting leave;
  • The date(s) for which leave is requested;
  • The reason for leave; and
  • A statement from the employee that he or she is unable to work because of that reason.
    • If an employee requests leave because he or she needs to provide care for a child whose school or place of care is closed due to the Coronavirus, the employer should document the following:
      • The name of the child being cared for;
      • The name of the school, place of care or child care provider that has closed or become unavailable; and
      • A statement from the employee that no other suitable person is available to care for the child.[3]

Coronavirus cases and deaths are on the rise throughout the country, and around the world.  This is disconcerting for a number of reasons, including the potential that employers and employees both will be without a framework to apply to the resulting problems.  Congress has to date, not succeeded in developing an alternative plan, or an extension of what is currently in place.

With Coronavirus cases on the rise employers need to know their rights and duties during the final countdown of the Act. We will continue to provide information as developments occur.

For more information, please contact: info@vwattys.com

VW Contributor: Leslie Mueller
© 2020 Vandenack Weaver LLC
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