Emergency Paid Sick Leave & Family and Medical Leave Through the Federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act

Updated 4/14/2020 11:30 a.m.

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act offers help for many Americans to get paid leave from work between April 1 and December 31, 2020. There are rules and requirements to meet. We summarize them here.

Who does this apply to?

  • It applies to businesses with 500 or fewer employees.

  • It applies to local, state and federal government employees.

  • There is an exemption for businesses with fewer than 50 employees. Business owners can ask for the exemption if it would jeopardize the viability of their business.

  • Employers pay for the leave but will be reimbursed by the federal government.

  • As an employee, you must provide your employer with documentation in support of your paid leave.

  • “Telework” (working from home by computer or phone) is included.

  • You may be eligible if your employer has work but you cannot do it because you can’t work at your normal worksite and cannot telework.

  • If you telework, you can take sick leave or expanded family and medical leave intermittently (from time to time) upon agreement between you and your employer.

  • If you are not teleworking, you can take expanded family and medical leave intermittently only with your employer’s permission.

  • You cannot get paid sick leave and/or expanded family and medical leave if your employer closes a worksite on or after April 1, 2020. That is the effective date of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

  • If your employer closes your workplace on or after April 1, 2020, you may be eligible for unemployment benefits. Learn more on our unemployment page.

If I am eligible, what can I get?

1. Emergency paid sick leave for employees

Employers are required to give you emergency paid sick time if you are unable to work due to the effects of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

Full-time employees can get 80 hours of paid sick time. Part-time employees can get hours of paid sick time equal to their average hours worked in a two-week period.

You can take paid sick leave immediately if you:

  • are subject to a governmental quarantine or isolation order;

  • have been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine;

  • are caring for someone who is subject to governmental or self-quarantine;

  • are caring for your child because the child's school or child care provider is closed; or

  • are experiencing a substantially similar circumstance related to COVID-19 (as specified by the Department of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the Department of Labor).

How much pay will I get?

Situation A

If you are taking paid sick leave because of an inability to work or telework because you:

  • are subject to a governmental quarantine or isolation order;

  • have been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine; or

  • are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis,

then you will get for each applicable hour the greater of:

  • your regular rate of pay,

  • the federal minimum wage in effect under the FLSA ($7.25/hour), or

  • your state (Vermont: $10.96/hour) or local minimum wage.

Note: In the circumstances listed above, you are entitled to a maximum of $511 per day, or $5,110 total over the entire two-week paid sick leave period.

Situation B

If you are taking paid sick leave because you are:

  • caring for someone who is subject to a governmental quarantine or isolation order or an individual who has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine;

  • caring for your child whose school or place of care is closed or child care provider is unavailable due to COVID-19 related reasons; or

  • experiencing any other substantially similar condition that may arise, as specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services,

then you can get paid two-thirds of the greater of the amounts of:

  • your regular rate of pay,

  • the federal minimum wage in effect under the FLSA ($7.25/hour), or

  • your state (Vermont: $10.96/hour) or local minimum wage.

Note: In the circumstances listed above, the employee is subject to a maximum of $200 per day, or $2,000 over the entire two-week period sick leave.

Other rules that apply to emergency paid sick leave

  • The total number of hours for which employees can receive paid sick leave is capped at 80 hours.

  • When you qualify for emergency paid sick time, it may be used before other paid leave that may be available to you.

  • Emergency paid sick leave due to COVID-19 does not carry over to the next year.

  • Employers must provide conspicuous notice, in the workplace, of the emergency paid sick time requirements.

  • Employers cannot take adverse actions against employees who take emergency paid sick leave due to COVID-19. They cannot fire you or demote you, for example.

  • Employers are subject to discipline for failure to comply with the emergency paid sick time requirements.

How do I get started?

For both emergency paid sick leave, and emergency family and medical leave, contact your employer. They may have forms to fill out.

If you have questions or problems with getting this emergency help, contact our helpline at 1-800-889-2047 or fill out our online form.

 

2. Emergency family and medical leave for employees

You can take health emergency family or medical leave through December 31, 2020, to care for your child during a COVID-19 public-health emergency. The child must be under the age of 18, or incapable of self-care because of a mental or physical disability.

Employers must give you up to 12 weeks of family and medical leave if you cannot work because your child’s school or child care provider is closed as a result of a COVID-19 public-health emergency.

Employers do not have to pay you for the first two weeks of a COVID-19 public health emergency leave. However, you may use accrued paid leave during that time.

You can only get the additional 10 weeks of expanded family and medical leave to care for your child whose school or place of care is closed, or child care provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19 related reasons. You must be employed at least 30 days to qualify, but you do not have to meet other Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) eligibility requirements.

How much pay will I get?

After the first two weeks (and during 10 weeks of extended family and medical leave) employers must pay not less than two-thirds of your regular pay for the number of hours per week you normally work.

The regular rate of pay used to calculate this amount must be at or above the federal minimum wage ($7.25/hour), or the applicable state (Vermont, $10.96/hour) or local minimum wage. 

The maximum amount of compensation for the 10-week extended family and medical leave is $200 per day and $10,000 in aggregate.

Note: You will not receive more than $200 per day or $12,000 for the 12 weeks that include both paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave when an employee is on leave to care for their child whose school or place of care is closed, or child care provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19 related reasons.

Other rules that apply to emergency family and medical leave

  • One way to figure the “regular rate of pay” used to calculate your paid leave is the average of your regular rate over a period of up to six months prior to the date on which leave was taken. Commissions, tips or piece rates will be used to calculate an employee’s regular rate.

  • An employer is generally required to restore you to your former position following a COVID-19 public health emergency leave unless the employer:

    • has fewer than 25 workers; and

    • has made reasonable efforts to retain the employee's position but the position no longer exists due to economic conditions caused by the COVID-19 public health emergency.

  • This expanded family and medical leave is not available to you if you are caring for a parent or another family member who is not a child. But you may be entitled to leave under the expanded sick leave or the terms of the existing Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

  • The Department of Labor may:

    • exclude certain health care providers and emergency responders from eligibility for extended family and medical leave; and

    • exempt employers with fewer than 50 employers if being required to provide extended family or medical leave would place the viability of the employer’s business at risk.

  • The Director of the Office of Management and Budget, for good cause, also may exclude certain federal employers from providing emergency family and medical leave.

How do I get started?

For both emergency paid sick leave, and emergency family and medical leave, contact your employer. They may have forms to fill out.

If you have questions or problems with getting this emergency help, contact our helpline at 1-800-889-2047 or fill out our online form.

Need help or more information?

If you have questions or problems with getting this emergency help, contact our helpline at 1-800-889-2047 or fill out our online form.

 

 

Updated: Apr 14, 2020