The Coronavirus Crisis

The outbreak of Coronavirus / COVID-19 impacted each and every one of us: our families, our co-workers, our friends, everyone. Millions of people lost their jobs, were placed on furlough, and still others had their wages or hours reduced. This pandemic has and will continue to affect many aspects of our lives from now into the future.

The Newly-Enacted Coronavirus Relief Act

The United States government is responding to the Coronavirus issues in many different ways. We are all familiar with the testing and quarantine measures, and talks of the economic stimulus, but the United States government is also putting through new laws to deal with the economic realities that we are facing. One example of a sweeping economic response is the Families First Coronavirus Relief Act (“FFCRA”), which was signed into law on March 18, 2020. The FFCRA will impact millions of people and about As part of the FFCRA, the “Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act” requires employers with less than 500 employees provide both full time and part time employees with paid sick leave for the following related to the Coronavirus as follows:

(a) In general.—An employer shall provide to each employee employed by the employer paid sick time to the extent that the employee is unable to work (or telework) due to a need for leave because:

(1) The employee is subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID–19.

The FFCRA separates employees into two basic categories for the type of paid sick leave available. For employees who fall into categories (1) through (3), meaning that the eligible employee is in coronavirus quarantine or is seeking a coronavirus diagnosis, the benefits are limited to $511 per day for up to 10 days (up to $5,110 in total). For those employees who have been employed for at least 30 days and who fall into categories (4) though (6) – which includes affected employees who care for a either quarantined family member or a child whose school or child-care location was closed because of the pandemic – they are eligible to receive emergency paid sick leave of up to $200 per day for up to 10 days (up to $2,000 in total), but the first two weeks of leave would be unpaid, unless the employee wanted to use available sick/PTO days.

The FFCRA requires that small-business (with less than 500 employees) give their employees the right to take up to 12 weeks of job-protected family leave if that employee or a family member is in coronavirus quarantine or if the school or child-care location of the employee’s child is closed due to the coronavirus. The employer must pay at least two-thirds of the employee’s usual pay, up to a maximum of $200 per day, subject to an overall per-employee maximum of $10,000 in total family-leave payments.

Retaliation Is Prohibited