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New Federal Law Requires Employers to Provide Emergency Paid Sick Leave

Mar 21, 2020

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act will become law on April 2, 2020 and remain in effect until December 31, 2020. It applies to virtually all employers with 500 employees or fewer, although small businesses with 50 or fewer employees may later be exempted if compliance could force the employer out of business. All employees are eligible regardless of their length of employment.

Qualifying for Paid Sick Leave – An employee is eligible if he/she is: 

Benefit – Eligible employees are entitled to 80 hours of paid sick leave at the employee’s regular rate of pay or two-thirds the employee’s regular rate to care for another person. Healthcare and emergency responder employers may elect to be exempt. Employees may not be required to use other paid leave first before using paid sick leave under the Act. Tax credits applicable to the employer’s portion of Social Security taxes are available to employers to reimburse the wages paid to employees taking emergency paid sick leave. 

Cap on Paid Leave – Paid sick leave wages are limited to $511 per day up to $5,110 total per employee for their own use and to $200 per day up to $2,000 total to care for others. Paid sick leave will not carry over to the following year and may be in addition to any paid sick leave currently provided by employers.

Calculating Rate of Pay – Employees who work a part-time or irregular schedule are entitled to be paid based on the average number of hours the employee worked for the six months prior to taking paid sick leave. Employees who have worked for less than six months prior to leave are entitled to the average number of hours the employee would normally be scheduled to work over a two-week period.