On March 18, 2020, President Trump signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act with overwhelming bi-partisan support from the House and Senate.  It creates some substantial burdens on employers of all sizes.  Covered employees are anyone unable to work or telework because of:

  1. A Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19;
  2. The employee has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19;
  3. The employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis;
  4. The employee is caring for an individual who is subject to an order as described in subparagraph (1) or has been advised as described in paragraph (2);
  5. 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 child care provider of such son or daughter is unavailable, due to COVID-19 precautions; and
  6. The employee is experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of Labor. 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 this subsection.

If an employee qualifies under one of these six requirements, and you are an employer with fewer than 500 employees; there are exceptions for those with less than 50 employees but an exemption must be requested.  You must provide paid sick leave (and employers have an option to allow unpaid leave for the first 10 days).  Full time employees are required to be paid up to 80 hours of emergency paid sick leave; part-time employees of covered employers are entitled to an amount of paid sick leave equal to the average number of hours they work over a two-week period.  The limits to pay to employees who fall under items 1-3 is $511 per day and $5,110 in the aggregate; those who fall under items 4-6 may receive $200 per day and $2,000 in the aggregate.  There is no seniority requirement to receive and you can’t require an employee to use his or her normal vacation.  Paid leave may be as much as You will be required to post notice of this right once the Department of Labor issues the same.

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