Last night, H.R. 6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, passed the Senate and was signed by the President. The law, as passed, has some significant changes from the original version passed by the House. The law goes into effect in 15 days and the Department of Labor is supposed to issue regulations to interpret the law (together with a form notice for employers to use). For private employers with 500 or fewer employees, the law provides the following:
Covid-19 Sick Leave: Full-time employees receive eighty (80) hours of emergency paid sick leave if:
- The employee is subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19
- The employee is advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19
- The employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis
- The employee is caring for an individual who is under a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order or who has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine
- The employee is caring for a child whose school has been closed, or whose child provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19 precautions
- The employee is experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services in consultation with the Secretaries of Treasury and Labor.
Covid-19 Sick leave for the first three listed reasons is paid at an employee’s regular rate of pay up to $511 per day. Covid-19 Sick leave for the last three reasons is paid at 2/3rds an employee’s regular rate of pay up to $200 per day.
Employers may not require an employee to use other paid leave prior to using Covid-19 Sick Time or require an employee to find a replacement to cover hours when they are using Covid-19 Sick Time.
Covid-19 Extension of FMLA
Employees who have been employed for at least 30 days, can take up to 12 weeks of FMLA leave if they are unable to work or telework because they have to care for a minor child whose school or place of child care has been closed or if the child care provider of the minor child is unavailable because of the Covid-19 emergency. The first ten (10) days of Covid-19 FMLA leave are unpaid. However, an employee can use Covid-19 Sick Time during that time. Employee pay is 2/3rds of their regular wages up to a maximum of $200 per day. With some exceptions for small employers, employees must be restored to their original position after leave.
BOLI Expansion of OFLA: BOLI issued a temporary rule that expands sick child leave to include “absence to care for an employee’s child whose school or place of care has been closed in conjunction with a statewide public health emergency declared by a public official.”
We will continue to monitor developments. This is a rapidly evolving situation and we can expect additional changes/additions to the law over the next few weeks.