Family First Coronavirus Response Act Are employers ready for the new leaves?
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Family First Coronavirus Response Act Are employers ready for the new leaves?

By: Angel Berberena, Esq.

March 26, 2020

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA or Act) requires employers to provide sick leave and expanded family and medical leave for reasons related to COVID-19.

As per the US Department of Labor (US DOL), the FFCRA’s paid leave provisions are effective April 1, 2020, not on April 2, 2020. The duration and compensation to which an employee is entitled are based on the reason for the leave. The Act basically provides that covered employers must provide to all employees:

  • Two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick leave at the employee’s regular rate of pay where the employee is unable to work because the employee is quarantined (pursuant to Federal, State, or local government order or advice of a health care provider), and/or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis; or
  • Two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick leave at two-thirds the employee’s regular rate of pay because the employee is unable to work because of a bona fide need to care for an individual subject to quarantine (pursuant to Federal, State, or local government order or advice of a health care provider), or care for a child (under 18 years of age) whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19, and/or the employee is experiencing a substantially similar condition as specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the Secretaries of the Treasury and Labor.

A covered employer must provide to employees that it has employed for at least 30 days:

  • Up to an additional 10 weeks of paid expanded family and medical leave at two-thirds the employee’s regular rate of pay where an employee is unable to work due to a bona fide need for leave to care for a child whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19.

Private sector employers are only required to comply with the Act if they have fewer than 500 employees. Additional exceptions are available for good cause to exclude certain health care providers and emergency responders. Small businesses with fewer than 50 employees may be excluded from the extended medical leave provisions if they can demonstrate that such requirements would jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern. Covered employers qualify for dollar-for-dollar reimbursement through tax credits for all qualifying wages paid under the FFCRA.

Employees are also required to post in a conspicuous place on its premises a notice of FFCRA requirements. An employer may satisfy this requirement by emailing or direct mailing the notice to employees, or by posting the notice on an employee information internal or external website. See link to poster for private employers:
https://www.dol.gov/sites/dolgov/files/WHD/posters/FFCRA_Poster_WH1422_Non-Federal.pdf

Goldman Antonetti & Cordóva, LLC stands ready to assist you and your business to adjust to Puerto Rico’s regulatory and legal changes. If you need further assistance regarding compensation, benefits or leaves available during this crisis, please contact any of the following members of our firm (note that during this emergency, it will be easier for you to communicate with us through electronic mail, as provided below) :

Angel Berberena [email protected] 787.759.4143
Howard Pravda [email protected] 787.759.4101
Luis Antonetti [email protected] 787.759-4111
Vicente Antonetti [email protected] 787.759.4112
Romel Meléndez [email protected] 787.759.4115
Luis Ortiz Abreu [email protected] 787.759.4110
Gabriel Quintero [email protected] 787.759.4130
Javier Vazquez [email protected] 787.759.4113

Disclaimer: Although the information included in this document may concern legal issues, it is not a legal opinion or professional advice and clients shall not use it as such. We assume no responsibility or liability of any kind for any information contained herein, and we expressly disclaim all liability for any claim for damages arising from the use, reference to, or reliance on, such information. If legal or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought.

Goldman Antonetti & Cordóva, LLC | 787-759-8000 | www.gaclaw.com