FFCRA: Emergency Family Medical Leave Act Policy Considerations

The Coronavirus pandemic we are experiencing right now is unprecedented in the memories of all but a tiny handful of people, but it is affecting, in one way or another, every person in America.

In addition to the hardships faced by those suffering the virus or quarantined as a result of contact with an infected person – and persons caring for someone who is quarantined – among those hit hardest with unexpected difficulties are parents of children living at home. Schools across the country are closed, as are care facilities, and many caregivers are unable to provide their expected services, leaving millions of parents who are usually working no choice but to stay at home and be with children.

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which took effect on April 1st, established temporary requirements on companies that have 500 or fewer employees (with special exceptions for companies with fewer than 50 employees) to provide two sets of accommodations to employees in designated classes who are affected by the COVID-19 crisis: Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL), and Emergency Family Medical Leave (EFMLA), an extension of the regular FMLA requirements.

The affected employees, both full-time and part-time, who may be eligible are those who cannot work or telework because:

  1. They are quarantined, have been advised by a doctor to self-quarantine, or have COVID-19 symptoms and are awaiting diagnosis
  2. They are caring for a person under quarantine
  3. They are caring for a child whose school or place of care has been closed, or whose caregiver is unavailable, because of COVID-19 precautions

All three designated classes maybe eligible for EPSL, but only workers in the third class may also be eligible for EFMLA.

There are, as one might expect with a bill out of Congress – especially one written in an emergency situations – many details regarding pay rates and maximum compensation for full-time and part-time employees, what constitutes an “employee” and a “child”, lengths of leave time allowed, the effects of EFMLA on regular FMLA, the expiration of provisions, how companies will be compensated by the government under the FFCRA, and much more.

To download a more-in-depth analysis of the requirements and policy considerations, click HERE. You can also download a Sample of the Request for Emergency Sick Leave Form.