Trump indicators emergency coronavirus invoice increasing FMLA, granting paid depart

Editor’s Note: HR Dive has published a follow-up story examining the contents of the Family First Coronavirus Response Act and answering reader questions about the bill.

Diving letter:

  • President Donald Trump signed an emergency law on Wednesday to extend family and sick leave and guarantee paid sick leave to certain U.S. workers, including those in private companies or individuals with fewer than 500 employees. This emerges from various media reports.
  • The US Senate passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act earlier in the day with 90-8 votes. It was first passed in the US House of Representatives on March 14, and a revised version was passed on Tuesday.
  • The law comes into force on April 1, 2020 and ends on December 31, 2020.

Dive Insight:

Management observers who spoke with HR Dive acknowledged that while federal laws are needed to relieve U.S. businesses during the COVID-19 epidemic, small businesses are concerned about the potential impact on private sector employers, which families must now provide and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) vacation and sick leave protection.

“My biggest asset is, ‘Wow, this is a huge achievement for small businesses,” “Littler Mendelson shareholder Jim Paretti said in an interview with HR Dive.

The bill contains two separate provisions that affect private companies and individuals who employ fewer than 500 people. First, the FMLA will be amended to allow U.S. workers, including those employed by such facilities, to take up to 12 weeks of sheltered vacation if the worker is out of work due to the need to care for a child under the age of 18 Teleworking can come of age because the child’s school or care facility has been closed, or the child’s carer is unavailable due to a public health emergency related to COVID-19.

The first 10 days of FMLA emergency leave can consist of unpaid leave, but the employee must be paid for each subsequent day of leave. This payment would be calculated based on the number of hours the employee would normally work and would be no less than two-thirds of the employee’s regular wage. However, the invoice states that this amount will not exceed $ 200 per day and $ 10,000 “total”.

In addition, the bill exempts employers who employ fewer than 25 workers from the job-protected aspect of the FMLA emergency leave, provided certain conditions are met, even if the position of a worker on leave is eliminated due to “economic conditions” or other changes that may arise affect the employer’s operations due to the public health emergency. The draft law allows the Minister of Labor to exempt employers with fewer than 50 employees from the FMLA emergency requirement “if the introduction of such requirements would jeopardize the company’s viability as a company”.

Second, the draft law requires employers with fewer than 500 employees to give employees paid sick leave. This applies, among other things, if the employee is sick with COVID-19 or has been quarantined due to COVID-19, has symptoms of the disease and seeks medical help or takes care of a child in the event of a school closure or an unavailable childcare situation. Full-time employees are entitled to 80 hours of such vacation time, while part-time employees are entitled to time equal to the number of hours they work an average of two weeks. The vacation is not carried over from one year to the next.

As a condition of providing paid sick leave, an employer cannot require an employee to seek or find a replacement to cover the hours in which the employee uses the paid sick leave. Payment is calculated based on the employee’s “required compensation” (i.e., the employee’s regular pay or federal, state, or local minimum wage, whichever is greater) and the number of hours the Employees would otherwise have to work. The wage standards differ in certain situations, e.g. B. when an employee uses the time to look after a family member.

As with the expanded FMLA provision, the bill includes language that allows the Minister of Labor to exempt small businesses with fewer than 50 employees from paying sick leave.

The bill stipulates that employers who grant paid FMLA leave or take sick leave will have tax credits available. For many employers covered by the legislation, the immediate concern is how to afford payroll, Paretti said, especially since many work there Industries that are being closed by state and local governments for public health reasons.

“The only parallel I can draw in my life is September 11th,” said Paretti. “That mostly came out of nowhere.”

Small employers and other private entities need to take immediate action, including ensuring that employees who are parents under the bill are properly internally classified as such, Scott Witlin, partner at Barnes & Thornburg, said in an interview with HR Dive. Outside of the provisions of the bill, many of these employers must ensure that they are up-to-date with their obligations under the Employee Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act should layoffs be contemplated, he added.

The bill seems to allow certain smaller employers to get an exemption from its provisions, but these employers have to weigh the costs of a) providing vacation in the first place and b) non-compliance. “It can take more time and money to apply for the exemption than pay the bill,” said David Sherwyn, a professor of hospitality HR at Cornell University, told HR Dive in an interview, but noted that such a decision is based on the The employer’s decision is based on own circumstances. He added that it was uncertain that many local establishments, such as restaurants, could bear the cost of vacations amid falling revenues.

On the money side, help could be on the way from the Federal Reserve, which announced earlier this week that it would take action soon to support the flow of credit to businesses during the epidemic. Axios reported. The same outlet reported Wednesday that the White House had asked Congress to do so a $ 1 trillion coronavirus relief and stimulus program.

Employers may also need to evaluate their current paid vacation programs to see how they interact with the provisions of the bill, Paretti said. Teleworking or other forms of flexibility should be used to the extent that an employer can possibly implement them, he added.

Correction: In an earlier version of this story, the FFCRA implementation date was incorrectly stated. DOL announced that the law’s vacation requirements will go into effect on April 1st.

Comments are closed.