On March 18, 2020, President Donald Trump signed into the law the Family First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). Under this law, there are two components to temporarily expand benefits to workers affected by COVID-19, the Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSLA) and the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLEA). The Acts became effective on April 1, 2020 and will expire on December 31, 2020. The United States Department of Labor a Wage and Hour Division is responsible for enforcing these Acts.

In terms of workers’ compensation temporary disability benefits, these Federal Acts would make the need for carriers to pay temporary disability benefits unnecessary. The Acts will apply when a worker cannot work at their job site (if deemed essential) or telework due to illness, or if telework is unavailable. It is important to note that if a company temporarily closes due to COVID-19, these Acts do not apply and the employee may be eligible for unemployment benefits.

The Acts will reimburse private American companies that have fewer than 500 employees with tax credits for the cost of providing employees with paid leave taken for COVID-19 related reasons. These acts are meant to provide payment for employees who fall under six categories that cannot show up to work (if working for an essential business) or telework due to COVID-19 reasons. First responders and healthcare workers are exempt from these Acts. Companies with less than 50 employees may also be exempt if they can prove financial hardship by adhering to the Acts.

The Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA) provides employees with up to two weeks paid sick time. For full time employees, that means 80 hours of paid sick time, for part-time employees, the amount of hours is based on the amount of hours worked on average. The EPSLA caps payments at $511 a day or $5,110 total. THE EPSLA will pay at the full rate of pay for three categories: 1) the worker is subject to federal/state/local quarantine or isolation due to COVID 19 and cannot work or telework; 2) Worker has been advised by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine due to COVID-19 related causes; and 3) The worker is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and awaits a medical diagnosis. 

The EPSLA also applies for three additional categories where the rate of pay is capped to 2/3 of the employee’s salary or at $200 day. These categories include: 1) the worker is caring for an individual who is subject to a quarantine or has COVID-19; 2) the worker is caring for a child whose place of care is closed due to COVID-19 reasons; and 3) the worker is experiencing any other condition substantially similar to COVID-19.

The Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLEA) can be used for 12 weeks when an employee has to care for his or her children whose school or place of care is closed due to COVID-19 related reasons. The rate of pay for this would be 2/3 of the employee’s pay. The first two weeks are unpaid. This can only be used by employees who are not eligible for telework.

EFMLEA v. EPSLA

EFMLEA

EPSLA

Applies when:

  1. Employee can only use EFMLEA leave to care for his or her child or children whose school or place of care is closed (or child care provider is unavailable) due to COVID-19 related reasons.

Applies when:

  1. Worker is subject to federal/state/local quarantine or isolation due to COVID-19 and cannot work or telework is not an option.
  2. Worker has been advised by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine due to COVID-19 related causes
  3. Worker is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and awaits a medical diagnosis.
  4. Worker is caring for an individual who is subject to a quarantine or has COVID-19
  5. Worker is caring for a child whose place of care is closed due to COVID-19 reasons.
  6. Worker is experiencing any other condition substantially similar to COVID-19

How much is paid?

2/3 of the employee’s rate of pay.

How much is paid?

There is a $511 a day cap; or $5110 in total for reasons 1-3;

2/3 paid or a $200 a day cap for reasons 4-6

How long will the worker be paid?

This will last for 12 weeks; however; the worker will not receive pay for the first 2 weeks;

This is an expansion of FMLA.

How long will the worker be paid?

This is for two paid work weeks

EFMLEA v. EPSLA

EFMLEA

EPSLA

Applies when:

  1. Employee can only use EFMLEA leave to care for his or her child or children whose school or place of care is closed (or child care provider is unavailable) due to COVID-19 related reasons.

Applies when:

  1. Worker is subject to federal/state/local quarantine or isolation due to COVID-19 and cannot work or telework is not an option.
  2. Worker has been advised by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine due to COVID-19 related causes
  3. Worker is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and awaits a medical diagnosis.
  4. Worker is caring for an individual who is subject to a quarantine or has COVID-19
  5. Worker is caring for a child whose place of care is closed due to COVID-19 reasons.
  6. Worker is experiencing any other condition substantially similar to COVID-19

How much is paid?

-2/3 of the employee’s rate of pay.

How much is paid?

-There is a $511 a day cap; or $5110 in total for reasons 1-3

-2/3 paid or a $200 a day cap for reasons 4-6.

How long will the worker be paid?

-This will last for 12 weeks; however; the worker will not receive pay for the first 2 weeks.

-This is an expansion of FMLA.

How long will the worker be paid?

-This is for two paid work weeks