How does the Coronavirus Paid Leave Act affect small business employees?

Coronavirus

Visitors to the Department of Labor are turned away at the door by personnel due to closures over coronavirus concerns, Wednesday, March 18, 2020, in New York. Applications for jobless benefits are surging in some states as coronavirus concerns shake the U.S. economy. The sharp increase comes as governments have ordered millions of workers, students and shoppers to stay home as a precaution against spreading the virus that causes the COVID-19 disease. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

(NEWS10) — The Families First Coronavirus Response Act, known as the “Paid Leave Act” was signed into law last Wednesday. Since the law goes into effect on April 1, the Department of Labor issued some guidance for workers and employers to explain the act.

The law will require small companies with fewer than 500 employees, to give their workers affected by the coronavirus pandemic limited paid leave benefits.

According to the Department of Labor employers who qualify for the FFCRA must provide either

  1. Two weeks of paid sick leave at the employee’s regular rate of pay when the employee is unable to work due to a precautionary or mandatory quarantine, or if they are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking medical care
  2. Two weeks of paid sick leave at two-thirds the employee’s regular rate of pay if they are unable to work because they are caring for someone else who is experiencing COVID-19 related symptoms.

If the employee has been with the company for at least 30 days, the employer must provide an additional 10 weeks of paid expanded family and medical leave at two-thirds the employee’s regular rate. The 10 weeks paid sick leave is for employee’s who can’t work because they need to take care of a child whose school or day care is closed due to COVID-19.

If you qualify for either form of paid sick leave, you must provide documentation from applicable IRS forms to your employer.

These are some things that would not qualify you for paid sick leave under the new law:

  • If your employer furloughs or temporarily lays you off before April 1, 2020, you are not eligible
  • If your work-site was closed due to lack of business or because the state mandated a closure after April 1st

“The response to the guidance we’ve published so far has illustrated the critical need that workers and employers have for this important information,” said Wage and Hour Division Administrator Cheryl Stanton. “This round includes some of the most common questions we are receiving and will help ensure that the American workforce has all the tools and information needed in these very trying times.”

For more guidance from the Department of Labor on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act: CLICK HERE.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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