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  • Andy Adams

New Paid Leave Laws Effective April 1, 2020 . . . Boy, That Escalated Quickly

Boy, That Escalated Quickly . . .

We seem to be living in the "Boy, That Escalated Quickly"-meme from Anchorman. Click here if you need a refresher!

On March 18, 2020 President Trump signed this emergency legislation in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic. There are two separate laws: the EMERGENCY FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE EXPANSION ACT (E-FMLA) and the EMERGENCY PAID SICK LEAVE ACT (PSLA).

Here are some key Qs and As:

What is the PSLA?

The law requires employers to provide 80 hours of paid sick time to employees who meet certain requirements related to the COVID-19 outbreak. These include:

  • A quarantine or isolation order for the employee or someone in his or her care or medical advice to quarantine;

  • An employee with symptoms of COVID-19; or

  • When the employee's child's school or child care facility is closed

What is the E-FMLA?

The law amends the FMLA to allow for child care purposes related to COVID-19 (school or child care facility closings) AND partial compensation for that period of leave.

Who do these laws apply to?

The laws apply only to employers with LESS than 500 employees. However, the DOL is granted the "discretion" to exempt employers with less than 50 employees from the E-FLMA. There does not appear to be the same discretion under the PLSA.

Which employees are eligible?

All employees receive the benefit provided by the PLSA (assuming they qualify), including part-time employees (in an amount proportional to the hours they work). To receive the benefits of the E-FMLA, the employee must have worked 30 calendar days or more.

Is the PSLA sick time in addition to the employee's normal PTO time?

Yes, this is an additional 80 hours that must be used BEFORE any additional PTO the employee may have is used.

Compensation under the PSLA

The employee's regular compensation is to be paid for self-care and two-thirds of the employee's regular compensation for care of others. However, there is a daily cap and a maximum cap for the compensation paid under the PSLA. The maximum benefit for self-care is $511 per day with a total cap of $5,110. The maximum benefit for the care of others is $200 per day with a total cap of $2,000.

Compensation under the E-FMLA

The first ten days of leave are unpaid. The next ten weeks are to be paid at two-thirds of the employee's regular rate of pay. However the maximum benefit is $200 per day with a total cap of $10,000.

Are there Tax Credits to "offset" the cost of this?

Yes, employers are entitled to a credit against the tax imposed by Section 3111(a) or Section 3221(a) of the IRS Code for each calendar quarter, of an amount equal to 100% of qualified sick leave wages paid.

Be on the lookout for the poster!

The DOL has been charged with preparing a poster within seven days and you will be required to post it.

When will it end?

If you mean these laws, they are scheduled to sunset (meaning automatically expire) on December 31, 2020. If you are talking about this pandemic, please address that question to a higher authority.

UPDATE: we revised the effective date from April 2 to April 1 in accordance with the change.

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