business What’s inside the Families First Coronavirus Response Act? March 25, 2020 The Families First Coronavirus Response Act is the latest emergency response to the global COVID-19 pandemic. Here’s what you need to know. On March 18, 2020, Congress passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) which requires certain employers to provide their employees with expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID as well as expand food assistance and unemployment benefits and more. What’s inside the act? The expanded family and medical leave provisions of the FFCRA apply to certain public employers, and private employers with fewer than 500 employees. Employees, full and part-time, that have been employed for 30 days are eligible. Small businesses with fewer than 50 employees may qualify for exemption from the requirement to provide leave due to school closings or child care unavailability if the leave requirements would jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern. Essentially the FFCRA: Expands family and medical leave:-Two weeks (up to 80 hours) of expanded family and medical leave at two-thirds the employee’s regular rate of pay because the employee is unable to work because of a bona fide need to care for an individual subject to quarantine (pursuant to Federal, State, or local government order or advice of a health care provider), or care for a child (under 18 years of age) whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19, and/or the employee is experiencing a substantially similar condition.-Up to an additional 10 weeks of expanded family and medical leave at two-thirds the employee’s regular rate of pay where an employee is unable to work due to a bona fide need for leave to care for a child whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19.Expands paid sick leave:-Two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick time at the employee’s regular rate of pay for any employee who is unable to work because he/she is quarantined or experiencing symptoms of coronavirus.-Employees taking leave shall be paid at either their regular rate or the applicable minimum wage, whichever is higher, up to $511 per day and $5,110 in the aggregate (over a 2-week period)-Two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick time at two-thirds the employee’s regular rate of pay for any employee who is unable to work because of a bona fide need to care for an individual subject to quarantine or care for a child whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable.-Employees taking leave shall be paid at 2/3 their regular rate or 2/3 the applicable minimum wage, whichever is higher, up to $200 per day and $2,000 in the aggregate (over a 2-week period).Tax Credits: Covered employers qualify for dollar-for-dollar reimbursement through tax credits for all qualifying wages paid under the FFCRA. Qualifying wages are those paid to an employee who takes leave under the Act for a qualifying reason, up to the appropriate per diem and aggregate payment caps. Applicable tax credits also extend to amounts paid or incurred to maintain health insurance coverage. For more information, please see the Department of the Treasury’s website. Besides family medical leave and paid sick leave, the act also: Expands food assistance - The act provides additional funding to the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for women, infants and children and additional flexibility for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients. In addition, the act provides additional funding for emergency food assistance, including specific assistance for children who might depend on school lunch programs.Expands unemployment benefits- Check out our blog, Out of work due to Coronavirus? Here’s How to File for UnemploymentProvides additional funding for Indian Health Services, aging and disability services programs, and funding for veterans’ health servicesProvides free coronavirus testing- Costs will be covered by the insurer or the government.Requires employers to provide additional protections to healthcare workersQuestions? Contact us. Visit our Coronavirus Resource Center for the latest information.