The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and Paid Sick Time

hand buried in dollar billsThe Coronavirus has changed the way that we as a society have been living since March of 2020. One of the many legislative changes that have come about was titled the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. This Act was designed to address many issues that our current infrastructure had not addressed. One of the issues that were addressed was paid sick time. The Department of Labor website addresses the many different aspects of the Act; however, I will touch upon some of the more pertinent questions involving paid sick time under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act below.

What employers are covered?

The act covers all American employers who have less than 500 employees. There are certain restrictions in place for employers with less than 50 employees. The fund will provide them with compensation for payments to cover eligible employees for up to 80 hours for any COVID-19 related absence. There are also provisions for additional payments at a reduced amount provided certain criteria are met.

What are the qualifying reasons for paid leave?

An employee qualifies for paid sick time if the employee is unable to work (or unable to telework) due to a need for leave because 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 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 a child whose school or place of care is closed (or childcare provider is unavailable) for reasons related to COVID-19; or
  • is experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the Secretaries of Labor and Treasury.

See: Department of Labor website

Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, an employee qualifies for expanded family leave if the employee is caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed (or childcare provider is unavailable) for reasons related to COVID-19.” So, the criteria for the paid sick leave are broad and will hopefully help those Americans who have been hit so hard by this pandemic.

What sort of documentation is required?

To request paid sick time for Coronavirus related absence, you will have to complete a downloadable form requesting the sick leave payment and you will be required to provide your employer with all of the back-up documentation that they will request, such as a letter or memorandum from the childcare facility where your child was attending before the COVID-19 shutdown. You may also be required to provide documentation from your physician notating that you are being quarantined under a doctor’s care due to circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.

For more information regarding paid sick time for COVID-19 related issues, please visit the Department of Labor website.