Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Temporary Rules for Emergency Leave
The United States Department of Labor (DOL) issued a temporary rule to implement two new emergency paid leave requirements in response to COVID-19: the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA) and the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLEA). These provisions were established by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The temporary rule became effective April 2, 2020 and will expire December 21, 2020.
Texas Health and Human Services (HHS) would like to remind Financial Management Services Agencies (FMSAs) and Consumer Directed Services (CDS) employers that they must comply with all applicable employment-related laws, regulations, and guidance, including the DOL temporary rule and associated guidance. FMSAs and CDS employers should also comply with any instructions from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) related to implementation of the FFCRA.
Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA)
Private employers with fewer than 500 employees must comply with the EPSLA. The EPSLA requires employers to provide paid sick leave to employees who are unable to work for six reasons having to do with COVID-19 where the employee:
- Is subject to a Federal, State or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19.
- Has been advised by a health-care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19.
- Is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and is seeking a medical diagnosis.
- Is caring for an individual subject to an order described in 1, or self-quarantine as described in 2.
- Is caring for their child whose school or place of care is closed, or whose child care provider is unavailable due to COVID-19 related reasons.
- Is experiencing any other substantially-similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services.
Additional EPSLA Considerations
- Full-time employees are entitled to 80 hours of paid sick time.
- Part-time employees generally are entitled to the average number or hours the employee works in a two-week period, although special rules may apply to part-time employees with varying schedules.
- Paid sick leave offered through the EPSLA expires December 31, 2020.
- Paid sick time applies to employees regardless of how long they have been employed by the employer.
- An employer cannot require the employee to use other paid leave prior to using the paid leave provided by the EPSLA.
Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLEA)
Private employers with fewer than 500 employees must comply with the EFMLEA. The EFMLEA requires employers to provide expanded paid family and medical leave to eligible employees who are unable to work because the employee is caring for their child whose school or place of care is closed or whose child care provider is unavailable due the COVID-19 public health emergency.
- All employees who have been employed by a covered employer for at least 30 calendar days are eligible to take expanded family and medical leave under the EFMLEA.
- An employee is entitled to take up to 12 weeks of leave (first two weeks unpaid, remaining ten weeks paid at two-thirds the employee’s regular rate of pay) for the purpose described in the EFMLEA.
- An eligible employee may elect to use, or an employer may require that an employee use, such expanded family and medical leave concurrently with any leave offered under the employer’s policies that would be available for the employee to take to care for their child, such as vacation, personal leave or paid time off.
For additional details about the temporary rule including FFCRA exemptions, reimbursements and FAQs, please visit the following DOL resources:
- COVID-19 and the American Workplace
- FFCRA: Employer Paid Leave Requirements
- FFCRA: Employee Paid Leave Rights
- FFCRA: Questions and Answers
For the latest Superior news on Coronavirus, please visit Foster Care Texas' Coronavirus Updates webpage.