Families First Coronavirus Response Act – What It Means to Your Business

Written March 25, 2020

Categories: AD Advocacy, CP Advocacy, DP Advocacy, DT Advocacy, ES Advocacy, First to Know, FP Advocacy, GP Advocacy, IPDAA Advocacy, SM Advocacy

US Congress passed, and President Trump signed into law on March 18th, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, FFCRA, which goes into effect no later than April 2, 2020, and will expire on December 30, 2020. It is important to note that this new legislation only applies to employers with less than 500 employees and is not retroactive. The provisions of this emergency legislation are limited to just this pandemic.

The bill has two separate provisions that impact private entities and individuals that employ fewer than 500 employees. First, it amends the FMLA to allow U.S. workers, including those employed by such entities, to take up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave if the employee is unable to work or telework due to a need to care for others or for a child under 18 years of age because that child's school or place of care has closed or the child's child care provider is unavailable due to a public health emergency with respect to COVID-19. The Act also provides payroll tax credits to offset all costs of providing these paid leaves.

The Department of Labor, in its initial guidance for implementation of the FFCRA has indicated that “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.”

The US Department of Labor has issued guidance for both employees and employers in a Fact Sheet for Employees, and a Fact Sheet for Employers. Additionally the Agency has issued a Questions and Answers document addressing most frequently asked questions.

SGIA continues to monitor this and other critical legislation related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Check back often for further updates on these issues. For more information or questions, please contact govtaffairs@sgia.org