The Coronavirus pandemic has caused issues for employers around the nation, as hundreds of thousands of employees have been made sick and families have had increased difficulties with schooling and childcare. Employers have been put into a situation of determining how to allocate sick days and medical leave for their employees who may be affected by Covid 19 while also complying with state and federal law. Mainly, it is important to note that the federal government has made mandates to expand existing protections for family leave for employees through the introduction of Families First Corona Response Act (“FFCRA”).
The FFCRA requires employers in certain specified categories to provide their employees with paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave when it is for reasons associated with Covid-19. Employers who are considered to be “covered” by the FFCRA include certain public and private employers with fewer than 500 employees.
Generally, the FFCRA requires that “covered” employers provide their employees with two weeks of paid sick leave when the employee is in quarantine at the behest of federal, state, local or a healthcare professional’s direction, or if they are experiencing symptoms and seeking a diagnosis. Additionally, the act requires “covered” employers to provide two weeks of paid sick leave, at two-thirds of the regular rate of pay, in the event that the employee is unable to work because of the genuine need to care for an individual subject to quarantine or a child under the age of 18 whose school or child care provider is closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Notably the FFCRA even requires that employers grant up to an additional 10 weeks of paid expanded family and medical leave to employees who have been employed for a mere 30 days and are unable to work due to the need to care for a child whose school or child care provider is closed for Covid-19 related reasons.
Employers operating in this difficult time should make sure that they are complying with the standards set by the United States Department of Labor for providing family and medical leave. If you are a private employer who employees less than 500 employees, you are required to comply with the mandate, unless your business meets an exemption created for businesses employing less than 50 employees. If you fit into this category, you qualify for an exemption to this policy which provides leave to care for children due to school or childcare issues, if your business would risk its viability in implementation. If you have any questions about the implementation of family and medical leave during Covid-19 please do not hesitate to
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Thank you to Joel Thomas, JD for his assistance with this post.
 U.S. Department of Labor, Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Employer Paid Leave Requirements, (2020), https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-employer-paid-leave
 See Id.