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Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA): COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave and Expanded Family and Medical Leave Requirements

Author: XpertHR Editorial Team

Families First Coronavirus Response Act

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201 or FFCRA), signed into law on March 18, 2020, includes the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA) and the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLEA). Both the EPSLA and EFMLEA take effect April 1, 2020, and apply to leave taken between April 1, 2020, and December 31, 2020. They do not apply retroactively.

The Department of Labor (DOL) released regulations on the FFCRA, which are incorporated below. The regulations became operational on April 1, 2020, and are effective from April 2, 2020, through December 31, 2020.

The DOL has also published various pieces of guidance explaining the FFCRA's paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave requirements. The guidance includes a Fact Sheet on FFCRA Employer Paid Leave Requirements and FFCRA Questions and Answers (Q&As). The Fact Sheet and Q&As do not have the force of law. However, they do express the enforcement agency's interpretation of employers' obligations under the law.

Also reflected below are amendments to the FFCRA made by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which was signed into law on March 27, 2020.

A New York federal district court ruling struck down the following portions of the regulations implementing the FFCRA: the work-availability requirement; the definition of health care provider; restrictions on intermittent leave; and employee documentation requirements. See New York v. United States DOL, +2020 US Dist. LEXIS 137116. According to the DOL's Q&As, the district court ruling applied nationwide. In light of the decision, the DOL issued revised regulations clarifying workers' rights and employers' responsibilities regarding FFCRA paid leave. The revised regulations are effective September 16, 2020, and are incorporated below.