Congress recently passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), and it was signed into law by the President late Wednesday evening. The FFCRA will demand immediate attention by employers with fewer than 500 employees. The law will mandate expansion of certain benefits provided by employers. Although, the new law will be temporary in nature.
Here’s a brief summary of what you need to know:
- Effective Date 15 Days After Signed into Law: The law goes into effect 15 days after being enacted by the President. This means that employers must act quickly to meet the new benefit mandates.
- Law will Stay in Effect Until the End of 2020: The law as written will expire on December 31, 2020.
- Mandated Coverage for COVID-19 Diagnostic Testing with No Cost-Share: All group health plans (fully-insured and self-funded) must cover COVID-19 diagnostic testing with no cost-share. 100% coverage must also be provided for any related services including office visits (in-person or telehealth), urgent care, and/or emergency room expenses.
- FMLA Expansion to Include Paid Leave After First 10 Days: All employers with less than 500 employees (with some exceptions for employers with fewer 50 employees) must provide paid FMLA leave to all employees that have been employed for at least 30 days. The first 10 days of the leave is not required to be paid by the employer. Paid leave is calculated at an amount two-thirds of an employee’s regular pay not to exceed $200 per day or $10,000 in total for the entirety of the leave. Employers may elect to exclude certain health care providers and emergency responders from this provision.
- 80 Hours of Paid Sick Time: All private employers with less than 500 employees and public employers of any size must provide 80 hours of paid sick time to all full-time employees. Part-time employees are entitled to a pro-rated amount of sick time based on their average work hours over a 2-week period. Employees entitled to paid sick time are those: 1) subject to quarantine or isolation order, 2) advised by a health provider to self-quarantine, 3) experiencing symptoms and seeking diagnosis, 4) caring for someone that falls into one of the first three categories, or 5) caring for a child whose school is closed or care provider is unavailable. For categories 1-3 above, paid sick time is equal to the employee’s regular pay up to a maximum of $511 per day (or $5,110 in total). For categories 4 & 5, paid sick time is equal to two-thirds of employee’s regular pay up to $200 per day (or $2,000 in total). Employers may elect to exclude certain health care providers and emergency responders from this provision.
- Employer Tax Credits: The law provides for payroll tax credits for employers that are required to pay FMLA leave and/or sick time as described above.
More information will be forthcoming as it becomes available.