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Friday, June 26, 2020

Tips for Managing Family and Sick Leave


For employers of one to 499 employees, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) provided for expanded paid leaves related to both childcare and COVID-19 itself. Luckily, through the CARES Act, employers can get some of the funds paid through the FFCRA leaves back on their quarterly payroll tax filings. Effective communication from the employee will be key to documenting qualifying reasons for leave and recording leave separately from regular wages, sick pay, vacation, etc.

All of this will require adding new policies related to tracking and collecting documentation to ensure compliance. Clear communication between employees and your HR and payroll staff on employee status, including if or when it changes, as well as accommodations the company can make in the case of childcare issues, is key.

For larger employers with at least 500 employees, FMLA leave has been temporarily expanded with Emergency FMLA (EFMLA). Note that unlike provisions in FFCRA, there is no additional paid sick leave associated with EFMLA. Instead, the threshold to take leave is lowered to 30 days of employment. Like FFCRA, there are specific guidelines on tracking leave and compliance documentation. Clear communication to staff will be key, as this is not additional protected leave on top of FMLA.

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