On April 1st, Employers Must Provide Paid Sick Leave to Most Employees
On March 18, 2020, Congress passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”), and it was signed into law by President Trump the very same day. This goes into effect on April 1, 2020, and it creates brand new obligations for most employers, including small businesses.
This new law is comprised of two parts. The first is the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act, which applies to all private employers with less than 500 employees and all government employers. Other than certain health care providers, small businesses with less than 50 employees may only be exempt by showing that the law would jeopardize the viability of their business. This law requires employers to provide 80 hours of paid leave to all full-time employees for many purposes related to COVID-19, including when an employee is exposed to the virus or providing care for a child when they are sick or childcare or school have been closed due to coronavirus.
The other part of the law is the Emergency Family Medical Leave Expansion Act. This law extends FMLA leave to employees working at a company with less than 50 employees. Employees are covered by this law if they have worked for at least 30 days, instead of 12 months, and 1,250 hours of service under the regular FMLA. Under this law, employers must provide ten days of unpaid leave, followed by a period of paid leave at two-thirds of the employee’s regular pay. A qualified employee must have their position protected for up to 12 weeks of leave under this law.
As with any law, there are some exceptions, and some employers may be entitled to tax credits or other benefits for providing the benefits required under this law. This is a tough and confusing time for small business owners and HR professionals. The labor and employment attorneys at Cooper, Barton & Cooper are here to help Georgia employers navigate these new requirements.
Call us now at (478) 202-7050 for help with this or helping your business navigate any of its legal challenges.