Effective April 2, employers that may never have had to worry about the FMLA because they don't have enough employees (50) will have to become family-leave experts in a hurry. And all employers will have to figure out how to manage a new paid-leave benefit. Do you have your record keeping and leave request documents figured out?
The new Families First Coronavirus Response Act mandates both paid sick leave and paid family leave for some employees. With the new mandates come recordkeeping requirements. Below is a primer on how to track usage and coordinate coverage.
Coordinating Leave and Record Keeping
The law's FMLA public health emergency leave provision allows employees to first take paid emergency sick leave, followed by partially paid public health emergency leave under more limited circumstances. Generally, employers will credit the first 10 days to paid emergency sick leave.
Create a record to Note the reason for the leave and the rate paid, since COVID-19 quarantine, testing and treatment is paid at a different rate (up to $511 per day) than taking time off to care for a family member or because school and day care is closed (up to $200 per day). You will need to establish each worker's regular rate of pay based on Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) rules.
Next, determine if the employee is entitled to expanded FMLA leave. Only those caring for children due to coronavirus-related school or day care closures are eligible.
Only employees whom you have not offered an opportunity to telework are eligible. Keep a record of any offer to work from home. If the employee rejects the offer, document that you explained this means they will not receive paid FMLA leave. Next, document that schools or day care for minor children have closed. Then document pay at two-thirds of the regular rate of pay, up to a maximum of $200 per day.
FAQs are being updated regularly by the US DOL and can be found here: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-questions
Please reach out if we can help in any way, from understanding COVID-19 requirements, to the difference between furloughs and layoffs, policy needs, and/or sharing some thought leadership. We are passionate about partnering with businesses to be that think bridge between the business strategy and people strategy. It is through joint initiatives such as this where we find our greatest strength.
Chameleon Strategies, LLC
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