The FFCRA (Families First Coronavirus Response Act) What Employers Need to Know

Alert COVID-19 – Shannon & Associates LLP _ Kent, WA

The FFCRA is in effect from April 1 to December 30, 2020, and requires certain employers to provide their employees with paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave for specific reasons related to COVID-19.

We have prepared a summary of the highlights of this Act and some commonly asked questions and resources:

What Employers are subject to this Act?

Generally, EMPLOYERS in the private sector with fewer than 500 employees

  • Employers may exclude certain employees who are health care providers or emergency responders.  Exclusions for healthcare providers include people who work at a doctor’s office, hospital, health care center, clinic, educational institution offering health care instruction,  medical school, health department or agency, nursing or retirement facility, nursing home, home healthcare provider, laboratory or medical testing facility, provider of medical products.

Is there an exemption for EMPLOYERS with fewer than 50 employees?

Employers with fewer than 50 employees may be eligible for an exemption from the school/childcare leave if:

  • Providing the leave would jeopardize the viability of their business as a going concern
  • The absence of employee(s) would severely impact the delivery of critical services or there are not sufficient employees to cover critical services

Is the paid leave available to all employees?

  • Employees who have been employed for at least 30 days prior to their leave request may be eligible for up to an additional 10 weeks of partially paid expanded family and medical leave for reason #5 in the qualifying events listed below.
  • Part-time employees are eligible for leave that equals the number of hours the employee is normally scheduled to work over that period.
  • Some healthcare providers or emergency responders may be excluded

What are the qualifying events that allow an employee emergency paid sick leave or Extended Emergency Family Leave under FFCRA?

  1. Being Subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19
  2. Advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine related to COVID-19
  3. Experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and is seeking a medical diagnosis
  4. Caring for an individual subject to an order described in (1) or self-quarantine as described in (2)
  5. Caring for your child whose school or place of care is closed (or childcare provider is unavailable) due to COVID-19 related reasons
  6. Experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

What is the leave period and pay available?

Paid Emergency Sick Leave

Up to 80 hours of paid sick leave for full-time employees

  • Part-time employees are entitled to sick leave equal to the number of hours worked on average over a typical 2-week period.

Sick leave must be paid at the employee’s regular rate of pay

Sick leave must be paid at a rate of 2/3 of the employee’s regular rate if caring for a family member or for a child whose school or daycare has closed.

Maximum pay is $511/day and $5,110 in total for reasons 1, 2 and 3 under qualifying events

Pay is capped at $220/day and $2,000 total for reasons 4,5, and 6 described above

Emergency Family Medical Leave

For item 5, an employee who is on leave to care for a child under 18 if the child’s school or place of care has been closed, or the childcare provider I unavailable, due to a health emergency caused by the Coronavirus declared by federal, state or local authorities may receive:

  • up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave
  • The first 10 days are unpaid unless other paid time off is available through the employer
  • After 10 days, the employer must pay 2/3 of the employee’s regular rate of pay for the number of hours they would normally be scheduled to work up to a maximum of $200/day and $10,000 in total.

What kind of relief will EMPLOYERS receive?

Employers will receive dollar for dollar sick leave and paid extended family and medical leave against the employer portion of Social Security Taxes.  Refunds are possible for the amounts that exceed what is available as a credit. 

  • The details of how the credits and/or refunds will be reported are expected and you can find draft information here.

What should I do to make sure I’m in compliance?

You are required to post in a conspicuous place the DOL Employee Notification Poster; if you have any remote employees you must also send the notice electronically.

You should also communicate how an employee applies for this leave.  A sample form is on our website under resources.

We recommend employers stay up to date and review the details of the FCCRA on the Department of Labor website

Other Resources:

DOL Questions and Answer Document
DOL Employee Rights Poster
Complete DOL FFCRA Regulations
IRS Updated Forms and Instructions
Understanding the difference between PFML and FFCRA coverage

We are here to help if you need assistance with customizing your form, documentation collection, assessing leave qualifiers, obtaining your tax credits and more you can contact us at 253-852-8500 or by email

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