Paid Sick Leave And FMLA Expansion

Paid Sick Leave And FMLA Expansion
PAID SICK LEAVE AND FMLA EXPANSION José Vázquez

These are new regulations for the US employees & companies.

As part of the government’s stimulus package geared toward addressing the economic impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, Congress passed the Families First CoronaVirus Response Act (“the Act”) today, which is awaiting signature by President Trump. There are currently no requirements for companies to provide sick leave to their employees. Companies may do so in accordance to their own policies. In turn, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) only applies to companies with more than 50 employees. 

When signed by Trump, the Act will expand FMLA coverage to companies with less than 500 employees and will create a new sick leave law providing for up to two weeks of sick pay to covered employees. The Act will become effective 15 days from Trump’s signature and will remain in effect until December 31, 2020.

New Sick Leave Law Eligible employees are entitled to 2-weeks of paid sick leave if: 

  1. The employee is subject to a federal, state o local quarantine order or isolation order related to COVID-19;
  2. The employee is advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to COVID-19 concerns;
  3. The employee is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and is seeking medical diagnosis;
  4. The employee is caring for an individual subject to a federal, state or local quarantine or isolation order or advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to COVID-29 concerns (whether or not the person is a relative or family member of the employee);
  5. The employee is caring for his/her child if the child’s school is closed or the child’s care provider is unavailable due to public health emergency; or 6. The employee is experiencing any other substantial similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of Labor Paid sick leave is available to full-time employees of companies with less than 500 employees, regardless of the length of employment.

For additional information please contact MG Legal Group at 305-448-9557 or via email at office@mglegalgroup.com. 3/18/20

Employees are entitled to 80 hours of paid leave at their full rate for qualifying reasons 1 through 3, or two-thirds of the employees’ regular rate for qualifying reasons 4 through 6. 

Healthcare providers and emergency responders are exempt from this section. The Act provides that pay for sick leave is limited to $511 per day up to $5,110 total per employee for their own use (qualifying reasons 1 through 3) and $200 per day up to $2,000 for caring for another person (qualifying reasons 4 through 6). 

Paid sick leave does not carry over to the following year and may be in addition to any sick leave currently offered by the employer. Part-time employees who have been employed with the company for six months prior to taking paid sick leave, are entitled to be paid based on the average number of hours worked for the 6-month period prior to taking leave. For employees who have worked less than six months, they are entitled to the number of hours they would normally be scheduled to work over a 2-week period. 

  • Emergency Family Leave Expansion Act The Act temporarily expands FMLA coverage to employees of companies with less than 500 employees (the current threshold is 50 or more employees) who have been employed for at least thirty (30) days prior to the designated leave (expanded from a 1-year of employment). The Act also mandates that leave be paid (current leave may be unpaid). 

Employers with less than 50 employees may seek an exemption from the Secretary of Labor if the required leave jeopardized the viability of their business. Emergency FMLA is available to employees unable to work remotely in order to care for the employee’s child (under 18 years of age) if the child’s school or place of care is closed or the care providers is unavailable due to a public health emergency. Eligible employees may take up to 12 days of leave where the first 10 days of leave may be unpaid, but the employee may substitute any accrued paid leave (such as vacation or sick leave) to cover some or all of this unpaid period. Thereafter employees are entitled to paid leave at two-thirds of their regular rate for the number of hours that the employee would normally be scheduled to work. Pay for the expanded FMLA is limited to $200 per say and $10,000 in the aggregate per employee. Just like pay for sick leave, part-time employees who have been employed with the company for six months prior to taking paid sick leave, are entitled to be paid based on the average number of hours worked for the 6-month period prior to taking leave. 

For employees who have worked less than six months, they are entitled to the number of hours they would normally be scheduled to work. Employees of companies with 25 or more employees are entitled to return to work to the same or equivalent position upon their return from FMLA. Companies with less than 25 employees are excluded from this requirement if the position no longer exists due to an economic downturn or other circumstances resulting from a public emergency during the FMLA period. Employees must make reasonable attempts to return the employee to an equivalent position for up to one year after the employee’s leave.

• Tax Credits for Paid Sick Leave and Emergency FMLA Employers required to provide benefits under the Act are entitled to tax credits if their costs for sick leave or emergency FMLA exceed the taxes they would owe. Please consult with your tax specialist for eligibility.

José Vázquez
PASSIONATE ABOUT TOURISM AND HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY, HELPING PROFESSIONALS TO EXPAND AND GROW.
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