Yesterday, President Trump signed into law the H.R. 6201 Families First Coronavirus Response Act.
The act provides for Emergency FMLA leave coverage for employees impacted by the Coronavirus. Employers with fewer than 500 employees are subject to these provisions. The first 14 days of leave may be unpaid. Beyond that, there are requirements to provide paid leave.
Also included in the Act is an Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act. This provision provides an employer tax credit to fund payments to employees who are on leave for the following:
· To self-isolate because the employee has been diagnosed with coronavirus
· To obtain a medical diagnosis upon experiencing symptoms of coronavirus
· To comply with the recommendation or order by a public health official or health care provider because the physical presence of the employee would jeopardize the health of others because of exposure to coronavirus or exhibition of symptoms
· To care for or assist a family member who is self-isolating due to the three previous situations
· To care for the child of an employee if school or place of childcare is closed due to coronavirus
The employer credit can be an amount up to 100% of the qualified sick leave wages paid by the employer. The credit is capped between $200 and $511 per day. The credit cannot exceed the employer social security tax (6.2% of wages paid).
The act is to take effect within 15 days and will expire on December 31, 2020.
What does NOT seem to be covered, based on my reading of the Act is what happens when an employee doesn’t work due to a store closure or other shut-down initiated by the employer. This legislation does not appear to cover those individuals/employers.
Elimination of the waiting period and suspension of the requirement that an individual look for work while claiming unemployment benefits appears to be the means to compensate those workers who are unable to work due to the suspension of business by the employer. If your location(s) are not operating, direct your employees to dwd.wisconsin.gov/ui/ to apply for unemployment insurance benefits.
We are watching developments daily and will continue to push out information as it is available. We are still working and are happy to help you interpret these new, and constantly changing efforts to help all of us get through these unprecedented times. Please do not hesitate to reach out if you have specific questions/concerns. If there are answers to your questions, we will get them for you!