Family Medical Leave During COVID-19

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The federal government enacted H.R. 6201: Families First Corona Virus Response Act (FFCRA), which expands family and medical leave. 

  • Applies to employers with less than 500 employees
  • Only April 2, 2020 to December 31, 2020
  • Temporary regulations implementing FFCRA in 29 CFR Part 826
  • Applies if employees are unable to work or telework
  • Employers must post this FFCRA Poster – or send it by email or US mail to employees – no later than April 1, 2020
  • US Department of Labor posted several fact sheets and webinars with details
  • 2 weeks (80 hours) of paid sick time at employee’s full rate of pay, subject to dollar caps—or 2/3 pay if the leave is to care for others (i.e., a sick or quarantined family member or a child whose school is closed or whose childcare provider is unavailable due to the coronavirus).
  • +10 additional weeks of FMLA leave at 2/3 rate of pay for those who must stay at home to care for a child whose school is closed
  • Employer gets payroll tax credits to pay for these paid leaves.
    • New See the HLG tax blog for more information
  • Exemptions
    • Employers may exclude health care workers and first responders from all provisions to avoid health care shortage
    • New Employers with < 50 employees are exempt if:
      • New Such leave would cause the employer’s expenses and financial obligations to exceed available business revenue and cause the employer to cease operating at a minimal capacity;
      • New The absence of the employee(s) would pose a substantial risk to the financial health or operational capacity of the employer because of their specialized skills, knowledge of the business, or responsibilities; or
      • New The employer cannot find enough other replacement workers who are able, willing, and qualified, and available at the time and place needed, and these labor or services are needed for the employer to operate at a minimal capacity.
    • New Under these circumstances, an employer may deny FFRCA leave “only to those otherwise eligible employees whose absence would cause the small employer’s expenses and financial obligations to exceed available business revenue, pose a substantial risk, or prevent the small employer from operating at minimum capacity, respectively.”
      • New Be advised, different treatment of employees who work in the same company may lead to discontent and potentially to concerns about discrimination. We recommend employers consider all these circumstances carefully before deciding how to proceed.
    • New The employer must document  the facts and circumstances that meet the criteria. The employer should not send that documentation to the Department of Labor unless asked to do so.
  • New Self-employed may take
    • New Family leave of up to 50 days @ $200/day max, or 67% of your average daily self-employment income (based on a 260-workday year)
    • New Sick leave up to 10 days at the same rates show above
    • New See the HLG tax blog for information about payroll tax credits


  • Paid Family & Medical Leave & COVID-19: employers may qualify for 90 days same as cash premium payment leniency for workers compensation premiums; contact your Labor & Industries claims manager for details.  Also review this Labor and Industries Insurance scenarios and benefits chart.


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