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What Employers Should Know About New Paid Leave Requirements

Photo of a family at home with the text "paid leave"

The new Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) ensures that workers are not forced to choose between their paychecks and the public health measures needed to combat the coronavirus, while at the same time helping small- and medium-sized businesses provide paid leave during the coronavirus pandemic that’s reimbursed dollar for dollar.

The law requires most private employers (including nonprofits) that have fewer than 500 employees to provide paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave for specific reasons related to COVID-19. These employers will be reimbursed for the cost of providing paid leave through tax credits.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division administers and enforces the new law’s paid leave requirements. Here’s what employers should know about the law, and resources to help them comply.

 

Requirements

Covered employers must provide to all employees:**

Paid sick leave up to two weeks or 80 hours at the employees’ regular rate of pay or the minimum wage (whichever is higher),* if one of these scenarios applies:**

  • They are under a government quarantine or stay-at-home order.
  • They have been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine.
  • They are seeking a diagnosis for COVID-19 symptoms.

 

Paid sick leave up to two weeks or 80 hours at 2/3 of the employees’ regular rate of pay or the minimum wage (whichever is higher),* if either scenario applies:**

  • They are caring for somebody under a government quarantine or stay-at-home order, or who has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine.
  • They are caring for their child whose school, child care provider, or place of care is unavailable due to COVID-19.

 

Paid family and medical leave up to 10 additional weeks at 2/3 of the employees’ regular rate of pay,* if both criteria apply:

  • They are caring for their child whose school, child care provider, or place of care is unavailable due to COVID-19; and
  • They have been employed by the employer for at least 30 calendar days.

*Paid leave is capped at specific maximum amounts per worker. Learn more about calculating pay here.

**Paid sick leave is limited to a total of 80 hours.

 

Most public sector employers, regardless of size, must also provide paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave. However, most employees of the federal government are covered by Title II of the Family and Medical Leave Act, which was not amended by this act, and they are therefore not covered by the FFCRA’s expanded family and medical leave provisions. However, federal employees covered by Title II of the Family and Medical Leave Act are covered by the paid sick leave provisions.

Eligible employees working for a covered employer can take paid leave under the FFCRA by requesting the leave and providing their employer with some basic information about which of the qualifying conditions applies. Discriminating against, firing, or disciplining employees who use FFCRA leave is illegal.

Covered employers must post a notice of FFCRA requirements in a conspicuous place on their premises or can instead email the poster to employees. Download our workplace poster in English, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese (Simplified and Traditional), Hmong, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Tagalog, Thai, and Vietnamese.

 

Compliance Assistance Resources

We’ve already conducted hundreds of outreach events to educate workers and employers about the benefits and protections of this new law, and will continue to add compliance assistance materials at dol.gov/FFCRA.

 

For more help understanding the FFCRA or other federal wage and hour laws, employers and workers can also call 1-866-4US-WAGE or contact us online.

 

Cheryl Stanton is the Administrator of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division.

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