On March 18, 2020 President Trump signed into law the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The act is a comprehensive relief program that temporarily extends the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) to eligible employees for “a qualifying need related to a public health emergency”, temporarily increases paid leave and will provide free screening for people affected by COVID-19.

The law will take effect on April 2, 2020 and will affect all employers with fewer than 500 employees. Here is a summary of the nuances of the bill and what it entails for businesses across the country:

Families First COVID-19 Response Act Summary

(Updated 3/19/2020)

Emergency Paid Family Leave

  • 12 weeks of job protected FMLA leave (first 10 days may be unpaid) for employers with less than 500 employees for the following reason:
  1. The employee is unable to work or telework to care for a child under the age of 18 because daycare or school is closed or a childcare provider is unavailable due to a public health emergency related to COVID-19.
  • Employers with less than 50 employees may be eligible for an exemption if the obligations would jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern.
  • Employees may use accrued PTO or sick leave for first 10 days.
  • Covers employees who have been working for at least 30 calendar days.
  • After 10 days, employers must pay employees not less than 2/3rd of their regular rate of pay for the remaining 10 weeks.
  • Payments to employees for this leave are capped at $200 per day and $10,000 aggregate.

Emergency Paid Sick Leave

  • Employers will be required to provide full-time employees 80 hours of paid sick leave for the following circumstances:
  1. The employee is subject to a governmental order to self-isolate related to COVID-19.
  2. The employee has been advised by a doctor to self-isolate due to concerns of COVID-19.
  3. The employee is experiencing symptoms of COV-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis;
  4. The employee needs to care for a family member who is subject to a governmental order to self-isolate related to COVID-19.
  5. The employee needs to care for a child if the school or place of care of the son or daughter has been closed, or the child caregiver is unavailable due to COVID-19 precautions.
  6. The employee is experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the government related to COVID-19.
  • This applies to Employers with less than 500 employees.
  • All employees of a covered employer are eligible regardless of the duration of employment or full or part-time status.
  • Part-time employees are entitled to the number of hours of paid sick time equal to the number of hours they work on average over a 2-week period.
  • Employees must be compensated at their regular rate of pay for events 1-3 above. Payments are capped at $511 per day and $5,110 in the aggregate.
  • Employees must be paid at 2/3’s the employee’s regular rate of pay for events 4-6 above. Payments are capped at $200 per day and $2,000 in the aggregate.
  • Employers cannot require employees to use PTO or vacation pay in lieu of benefits. Who already have paid leave policies cannot revoke it or substitute it with the newly mandated leave.  Does not preempt existing state or local paid sick leave entitlements.
  • Employers do not have to pay out unused Emergency Paid Sick Leave if employee is terminated.
  • Must post a notice (DOL will provide in 7 days after the Act’s enactment).

Both provisions effective April 2, 2020 and expires on December 31, 2020.


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Written by: Matthew Muriel

Meet Matthew! Matthew is our content writer and has been working with us for a year. He enjoys working for SolveHR because it allows him to practice his copywriting and allows him to build experience in his fledgling career. Matthew studied at the University of Texas at San Antonio and earned his degree in English with a concentration in Professional Writing. He values learning new processes in the HR industry and then conveying those ideas to the company’s clients. When he isn’t working, he enjoys reading nonfiction, with his favorite book that he recently read being The Gene by Siddhartha Mukherjee. If he could go anywhere in the world he would travel across the United States and visit all of the national parks.

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