March 26, 2020
Authored by: Lily Kurland and Christy Phanthavong
On March 24, 2020, the Department of Labor (“DOL”) released an initial set of Questions and Answers (“Q&A”) regarding the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”). As we’ve summarized in earlier posts, the FFCRA was signed into law on March 18, 2020 and generally requires U.S. employers with fewer than 500 employees to provide paid sick leave and emergency family and medical leave (“FMLA”) benefits to employees in connection with COVID-19.
The Q&A is the latest in a series of publications from the DOL and the Internal Revenue Service to shed light on the FFCRA. Below are some highlights from this guidance for employers to consider as they prepare to comply with the FFCRA:
- Effective Date: The FFCRA will become effective on April 1, 2020 and will expire on December 31, 2020.
- Retroactivity: Benefits under the FFCRA are not retroactive. Any leave provided to employees prior to April 1, 2020 will not count toward the employer’s leave obligations under the FFCRA, and cannot form the basis for payroll tax credits.
- Employee Threshold Requirements Generally:
- The 500-employee threshold is calculated based on the number of US employees an employer has as of the date the employee’s leave is requested.
- The following types of employees should be included in an employer’s calculation: full-time employees, part-time employees, employees on leave, temporary employees who are jointly employed, and day laborers supplied by a temporary agency.
- Independent contractors (as defined under the Fair Labor Standards Act [“FLSA”]) are