WHAT EMPLOYERS NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE EMERGENCY FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE EXPANSION ACT (“EFMLEA”)

April 8, 2020

Have you provided the required notice?

In addition to the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act, employers with fewer than 500 employees are required to provide eligible employees with Emergency Family and Medical Leave (“Emergency Leave”) under the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act, which went into effect as part of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act on April 1, 2020.   

Employees are eligible for these benefits if they have been on the payroll for at least 30 calendar days before seeking Emergency Leave. Employers who employ health care providers or emergency responders may elect to exclude such employees.

Employees are entitled to Emergency Leave if they are unable to work because they need to care for one or more school-aged children whose school or daycare is closed for COVID-19 related reasons. All eligible employees are entitled to up to 12 weeks of leave. The first ten days of Emergency Leave may be unpaid, although employees may choose to use their EPSLA leave or any other paid leave for which they are eligible during their first ten days.

Employees are entitled to two-thirds of their regular rate of pay during their Emergency Leave (up to a maximum of $200 per day). In addition, employers with 25 or more employees are required to reinstate employees who take Emergency Leave upon their return, to either the same or equivalent positions.

Employers with fewer than 25 employees will be required to make reasonable attempts to reinstate their employees in the year following their employee’s leave. These employers, however, will not be required to reinstate any employees whose positions are eliminated as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, including economic reasons.

All Emergency Leave expires on December 31, 2020.

Eligible employers are required to post the following notice immediately: https://www.dol.gov/sites/dolgov/files/WHD/posters/FFCRA_Poster_WH1422_Non-Federal.pdf Employers can comply with the posting requirement by emailing or direct mailing the notice to employees, or by posting on their internal or external website.   

Retaliation against employees related to Emergency Leave is strictly prohibited and employers face double damages and attorneys’ fees for violations related to the EPSLA.

About the Author: Meaghan Kramer assists clients with employment law and commercial litigation matters. Meaghan is advising clients on workplace related legal issues arising from COVID-19. Meaghan writes about employment issues, including safeguarding workplace confidences, and creating work environments that are free from discrimination and harassment. mkramer@eblawyers.com | 602.222.4995

Disclaimer: This article is not legal advice and is only for general, non-specific informational purposes. It is not intended to cover all the issues related to the topic discussed. If you have a legal matter, the specific facts that apply to you may require legal knowledge not addressed by this article. If you need legal advice, consult with a lawyer.