How the Just-Signed Families First Coronavirus Response Act Affects You and Your Employees

On March 18, 2020, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) was signed into federal law and will go into effect on April 2, 2020.

To help you stay informed and avoid making drastic decisions, here’s a quick summary of what you need to know about the FFCRA right now. Our team of experts is happy to discuss any part of this law in more depth, it’s nuances and how it may impact your business and employees.

The four elements of this law most relevant to Colorado employers and employees are: free COVID-19 testing; paid job-protected leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA); 14 days of paid sick leave; and emergency unemployment insurance. It is important to note that FMLA and sick leave is only applicable to companies with less than 500 employees, government employees, and union workers.

The following is a brief summary of each part:

  1.  Free COVID-19 testing

    • 100% of COVID-19 testing is free to employers and employees

  2. Paid job-protected leave under the FMLA

    • Until December 31, 2020 to employees of qualifying businesses have the right to take up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave under the FMLA
    • Covered employees must be employed for at least 30 days before the first day of their leave; when they return, they must be restored to the position they held before their leave
    • Independent contractors and self-employed individuals will get these benefits in the form of a tax credit
    • To cover costs, employers will get a credit against the employer portion of Social Security taxes (6.2% tax on the employee’s salary) and a refund if the FMLA leave amount turns out to be more than the employer’s Social Security bill
       
  3. 14 days of paid sick leave for employees who cannot work remote to take care of their child(ren)

    • Effective immediately and until December 31, 2020 to employees of qualifying businesses will receive 14 days of paid sick leave, in addition to any sick leave provided by employers as of March 18, 2020
    • Independent contractors and self-employed individuals will also get these benefits in the form of a tax credit
    • There are no required minimum days of employment before a covered employee can take sick leave
    • To cover costs, employers will get a credit against the employer portion of Social Security taxes (6.2% tax on the employee’s salary) and a refund if the sick leave amount turns out to be more than the employer’s Social Security bill
    • Employers must post a notice informing employees of their rights to emergency paid sick leave once the Department of Labor prepares it, which will be by March 25, 2020

  4. Emergency unemployment insurance
    • Of the total amount budgeted by this law, $500 million will fund COVID-19 related unemployment benefits in states where unemployment compensation claims will increase by 10% over the same quarter in the prior calendar year. We expect Colorado to qualify for this.  

Obsidian HR encourages you to reach out to our HR experts to get all the details of the FFCRA and learn more about how it may impact you and your employees, including benefits costs and other considerations like plans for layoffs. Don’t hesitate to email us at inquiry@obsidianhr.com or call us at (720) 456-3590 if there is anything we can do to help.

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