Federal legislation passed for emergency paid leave
Leave provisions go into effect no later than April 2. There are two Acts that deal with paid sick leave: the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act and the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act. Each are described below.
Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act
Provides paid leave to employees who are unable to work due to COVID-19. The amount of the benefit is greater for the employee’s own illness than other covered reasons.
- Full-time employees are entitled to 80 hours of leave and part-time employees are entitled to leave for the number of hours they work on average over a two-week period.
- Paid leave to either quarantine or to seek a COVID-19 diagnosis or preventive care for the employee are paid at the employee’s regular rate of pay, up to $511 per day and $5,110 total per employee.
Paid leave if an employee is caring for a family member with a COVID-19 diagnosis, or to care for a child whose school or daycare has closed as a result of COVID. This is limited to two-thirds of the employee’s regular rate of pay, up to $200 per day and $2,000 total per employee.
Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act
Requires all employers with fewer than 500 employees to provide up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave to employees who are unable to work due to the need to care for a child whose school or child care provider is unavailable because of COVID-19. The first 10 days of leave are unpaid and the remaining 10 weeks must be paid at two-thirds of the employee’s regular rate.
Counties are included as employers under both Acts.
Leave granted for private sector employers will be reimbursed by the federal government through refundable tax credits counted against employers’ quarterly payroll tax.
The legislation excludes counties from the tax credit provision and does not otherwise address whether or how they will be reimbursed.
Exclusion: An employer of a health care provider or first responder may exclude employees from receiving leave under this emergency legislation.
The Act does not define these categories, but we expect it to include police, fire, and EMS, but may also include 911 dispatchers or jail staff. We will provide more guidance on that question once regulations are written. Health care/emergency responder employees are not automatically exempt, but the employer can elect to exempt them from the leave provisions.