As the Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to impact our daily lives, we must keep up to date with new government acts and announcements to remain aware of what is changing. Many of us are transitioning to new, isolated lifestyles as a precautionary measure to diminish the spread of this contagious virus, but unfortunately, some may already be exposed.
Yesterday, the House and Senate passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. From there, the Act was promptly signed by the President of the United States, to take effect April 2, 2020. Within the new Act, there are two sections related to employees who are off work due to the Coronavirus. These two topics are the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (section 5101) and the Emergency Family Expansion Act.
Let us help explain the most significant points of the new Act.
Emergency Sick Paid Leave Act:
Employer will pay paid sick time up to 80 hours (pro-rated for part-time) for employees who are not able to work or telecommute due to:
- The employee is subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation orders related to COVID-19
- A health care provider has advised the employee to self-quarantine due to concerns associated with COVID-19
- The employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis
- The employee is caring for an individual who is subject to an order as described in subparagraph (1) or has been advised, as described in paragraph (2)
- The employee is caring for a son or daughter of such employee if the school or place of care of the son or daughter has been closed, or the child care provider of such son or daughter is unavailable due to COVID-19 precautions
- The employee is experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of Labor
Emergency Family and Medical Expansion Act:
The law that was passed yesterday in regards to FMLA was the Emergency Family Expansion Act. It builds on FMLA. Therefore, all the requirements of FMLA (e.g., serious medical condition) still stand with specific expansions under the EFMEA.
Additions as it related to the Pandemic:
- Will expire December 30, 2020
- Applies to employers with under 500 employees
- Eligible employees, those who have been "employed" for the last 30 calendar days
- The first ten days are now unpaid, but employees can take PTO, vacation, etc. (this period will most likely also be covered under the Emergency Sick Paid Leave outlined above)
- After ten days, paid 2/3% of salary up to $200.00 per day and $10,000 in aggregate
- Specific exceptions for employers under 25 employees
- Parents can take this if they have children under the age of 18, and schools remain closed, or daycare providers are not available
These are unprecedented times, but we are clear on what matters most. Nothing is more important to Medcom than the health and safety of our employees, all of you, and the communities where we work and serve. As we all continue to monitor the spread of the virus, we hope you and your families continue to maintain happy and healthy lives.
Please stay connected with Medcom Benefit Solutions as we provide daily updates regarding changes to our business and legislation.