Editor’s note: Jodi Coverly is Director of Business Development and Marketing at Hutchison PLLC
RALEIGH – On Wednesday, March 18, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act was passed into law. Here are the takeaways you need to know:
PAID FAMILY LEAVE
Employees are entitled to paid family leave in the event they can’t work because their minor child’s school or childcare service is closed due to a public health emergency.
The first 10 days of leave may be unpaid, or the employee may substitute accrued PTO/leave for such 10-day period.
Thereafter, employees are entitled to up to 12 weeks of paid family leave at the rate of two-thirds of their regular wages but capped at $200/day (and $10,000 in the aggregate).
Employees who have been employed for at least 30 calendar days will be eligible for such paid family leave benefits. This provision expires at the end of the year.
PAID SICK LEAVE
1. Employers will have to provide 80 hours of paid sick leave benefits for the following reasons:
i. If the employee is ordered by the government to quarantine or isolate or has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine because of COVID-19.
ii. If the employee has symptoms of COVID-19 and is seeking a diagnosis.
iii. If the employee is caring for a relative who is in quarantine.
iv. Employee’s child’s school or childcare service is closed because of the public health emergency.
2. Such paid sick leave is capped at $511/day for the employee’s own care, or $200/day when the employee is caring for someone else. This provision expires at the end of 2020.
3. Employers covered by FMLA will be eligible for refundable tax credits for such paid sick leave.
4. Employers with fewer than 50 employees can apply for an exemption from paid leave if it would “jeopardize the viability of the business.” Guidance on such exemption is not yet available, but we will circulate such guidance once it has been published.
Several provisions of the act provide additional benefits under fully insured group health plans and the ability to amend self-insured health plans and retirement plans. Please feel free to contact us if questions arise with your plan administration partners related to the automatic and optional plan changes.
If you have any further questions or would like additional information, please feel free to contact the Hutchison attorney with whom you regularly work, or you may contact either of the following Hutchison attorneys:
FA Criffield – firstname.lastname@example.org; 919.829.4312
Ashley Pittman – email@example.com; 919.829.4303