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Fewer than 500 Employees? Families First Coronavirus Response Act Now In Effect for Your Company

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On March 12, President Trump signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), covering private employers with fewer than 500 full-time or part-time employees working within the U.S., U.S. territories and possessions. The count includes employees on leave and temporary employees who are jointly employed with another company as determined under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FSLA). To that point, the Department of Labor (DOL) confirmed that the joint-employer test from the FLSA and the integrated-employer test under the FMLA determines if multiple entities constitute a single employer for purposes of determining whether the employer has less than 500 employees. Businesses, including non-profits and trade associations, with fewer than 50 employees may be exempt from FFCRA if they can prove that providing leave would be an undue burden, placing them at risk of going out of business.

Does your company fall under the FFCRA? If so, here’s a very basic summary: the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is temporarily expanded from April 1 through December 31, 2020, in response to the coronavirus and the illness it causes, COVID-19. Among other things, it creates two weeks of paid sick leave for the care of children out of school because of COVID-19 and also makes weeks 3 through 12 its effective period for the paid leave. It also creates two weeks of paid sick leave for childcare and other leave related to the coronavirus. Third, it provides tax credits related to the paid leave provisions of FFCRA. Finally, companies that fall under FFCRA must post DOL’s FCCRA Employee Rights poster by April 1.

To help understand the new law’s intricacies, DOL Hours & Wage Division published Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Questions and Answers. As of March 30, it consists of 59 Q & A /clarifications about FFCRA’s effects on wages and hours worked under FLSA, job-protected leave FMLA, paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave. DOL will provide even more guidance further into April; it will post it as additional Q & A on the same link provided above.

Acknowledging it’s a lot to digest in a very tight window, NRMCA posted direct links on its website to the Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division. Finally, please note NRMCA offers no legal advice; please work with your company’s legal counsel.


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