The following has been updated in August 2021 from the origianl post in March 2020 to reflect the ongoing changes of COVID-19 legislation.
In 2020, a coronavirus relief package was passed by Congress and signed into law as H.R. 6201, Families First Coronavirus Response Act. Although the legislation is elective and is set to expire on September 30, 2021, HCC is continuing to monitor the effects of legislation and resources related to COVID-19 in the workforce. These provisions only affect employers with fewer than 500 employees. We offer clients guidance on the key provisions and changes you need to be aware of, along with general COVID-19 resource links.
Emergency Family and Medical Leave
Employees can now take up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave (2 weeks unpaid followed by 10 weeks of paid leave up to monetary caps) if they are unable to work (including by telecommuting) due to a need to care for a child whose school or childcare provider is closed or unavailable due to the Coronavirus outbreak.
Emergency Paid Sick Leave
Employers must offer employees 80 hours of paid sick leave (up to monetary caps) to quarantine, to seek a diagnosis or preventive care for coronavirus, or to care for a child.
Paid Leave Tax Credits
To help bear the cost of the new paid-leave requirements, employers can offset the amounts paid from employment taxes and otherwise seek refunds additional payments.
Employers will be required to post notice of the new provisions in a conspicuous place on their premises. Employers may also satisfy the notice requirement by emailing or direct-mailing the notice to employees, or posting the notice on an employee information internal or external website.
Employers that are health providers or emergency responders may exempt themselves from these requirements. Furthermore, employers with fewer than 50 employees may seek an exemption with the Department of Labor if compliance will threaten the business as an ongoing concern.
Prohibitions and Penalties
Employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees who seek to take this expanded leave. Employers found to be in violation of the requirements may be subject to penalties and enforcement under the Fair Labor Standards Act or the Family For your convenience, here are links to important information and resources from the Department of Labor:
Other COVID-19 Resources
- Johns Hopkins University’s Coronavirus Resource Center
- H.R. 6201: Families First Coronavirus Response Act
- U.S. Small Business Administration: Small Business Guidance & Loan Resources
- U.S. Department of Labor Coronavirus Resources
- Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) Coronavirus Resources
- The (U.S.) President’s Coronavirus Guidelines for America
- H.R. 6074: Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020
- World Health Organization (WHO) Coronavirus Resources