Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Fact Sheet & FAQs
The federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) provides Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) and Expanded Family Medical Leave (EFML) from April 1, 2020 through Dec. 31, 2020. UNC-Chapel Hill implemented the FFCRA policy effective May 1, 2020. FFCRA benefits only apply when employees have work available but cannot work or telework due to Reasons 1 – 6 under the FFCRA.
Effective Sept. 16, 2020, the University exempts UNC-Chapel Hill School of Medicine employees whose duties or capabilities are directly related to the provision of health care services under the revised “health care providers” exemption, as well as other groups of employees who are designated under the “emergency responders” exemption, from the FFCRA because their skills and services are deemed critically necessary to fulfill the University’s mission in combatting the COVID-19 pandemic at this crucial time.
EFML & EPSL Comparison
|EMERGENCY PAID SICK LEAVE (EPSL)||EXPANDED FAMILY & MEDICAL LEAVE (EFML)|
|Does this provide medical leave for an employee?||Yes||No|
|Does this provide medical leave to care for a family member?||Yes||No|
|Is this leave available to take care of a minor child whose school or daycare is closed?||Yes||Yes|
|How much leave does it provide?||Up to 80 hours (Prorated for part-time)||Up to 12 weeks (Pro-rated for part-time)|
|Is this leave paid?||Yes (Can also be used during first 2 weeks of EFML)||After the first 80 hrs.|
|What is the cap on leave paid?||100% of regular pay, up to $511 daily and $5,110 total if taken to care for self 2/3 of regular pay, up to $200 daily and $2,000 total if taken to care for family member or for childcare purposes||First 80 hrs. of leave are unpaid (Employee may use other eligible paid leave) The remaining 400 hrs. are paid at 2/3 of regular pay, up to $200 daily and $10,000 total|
|Can I take this leave for smaller increments than eight hours in a day?||No||Yes|
|Is my job protected when taking this leave?||Yes||Yes|
|What is the minimum period of employment before I am eligible for this benefit?||None||30 calendar days|
|Are part-time employees covered?||Yes||Yes|
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
The Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) administers and enforces the new paid leave provisions, and the agency website remains the best source of information related to the FFCRA.
No. FFCRA leave benefits are only applicable when employees have work available but are unable to work or telework due to COVID-19 circumstances. Employees who are not expected to report to a University worksite but cannot telework because their position and duties cannot be performed remotely, and because reasonable alternate remote work is not feasible or productive, must use their accrued leave or accrued paid time off for hours not worked.
Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL)
An employee is entitled to EPSL when the employee is unable to work because:
- The employee is subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19.
- The employee has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19. The advice to self-quarantine must be based on the health care provider’s belief that the employee has COVID-19, may have COVID-19, or is particularly vulnerable to COVID-19.
- The employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis. Symptoms that could trigger this are fever, dry cough, shortness of breath, and other COVID-19 symptoms identified by the Center for Disease Control. An employee experiencing COVID-19 symptoms may take paid sick leave for time spent making, waiting for, or attending an appointment to take a test; but not for self-quarantining without a medical diagnosis. An employee may continue to take leave while experiencing these symptoms, and after testing positive, if a health care provider advises self-quarantine.
- The employee is caring for an individual who is subject to an order as described in paragraph (1) or has been advised as described in paragraph (2). The employee must have a genuine need to care for the individual and must have a personal relationship with that individual. The individual being cared for must be an immediate family member, roommate, or other similar person with whom the employer has a relationship that creates an expectation that the employee would care for the person if he or she self-quarantined or was quarantined.
- The employee is caring for a son or daughter of such employee if the school or place of care of the son or daughter has been closed, or the childcare provider of such son or daughter is unavailable, due to COVID-19 precautions. An employee may take paid sick leave to care for the child only when the employee needs to, and is, caring for his or her child. Generally, an employee does not need to take such leave if another individual – such as a co-parent, co-guardian, or the usual childcare provider – is available to provide the care the child needs.
- The employee is experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of Labor. As of April 21, 2020, there were no other conditions specified by the Secretary of HHS, Treasury or Labor to qualify under this provision.
The Department of Labor has explained in its regulations that for these purposes, an employee is able to telework, and therefore may not take paid sick leave, if the employer has work for the employee to perform, the employer permits the employee to perform that work from the location where the employee is located, and there are no extenuating circumstances (such as serious COVID-19 symptoms) that prevent the employee from performing that work.
Part-time employees are entitled to EPSL based on the average number of hours the employee typically works in a 2-week period. If the normal work schedule is unknown, or if the employee schedule varies, the calculation would be based on a six-month average to determine the average daily hours. The employee would then be eligible to take EPSL for this number of hours per day up to a 2-week period.
In cases where this calculation cannot be made because an employee has not been employed with the University for at least six months, the calculation would be based on the number of hours the employee and University agreed that employee would work, on average, each calendar day.
Expanded Family Medical Leave (EFML)
An eligible employee may not take EFML to care of their child unless, but for a need to care for the individual, the employee would be able to perform work for his or her employer, either at the eligible employee’s normal workplace or by telework.
Under the FFCRA, a “son or daughter” is your own child, which includes your biological, adopted, or foster child, your stepchild, a legal ward, or a child for whom you are standing in loco parentis — someone with day-to-day responsibilities to care for or financially support a child. For additional information about in loco parentis, see DOL Fact Sheet #28B: Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave for birth, placement, and bonding or to care for a child with a serious health condition based on an “in loco parentis” relationship.
Also, under the FFCRA, a “son or daughter” is also an adult son or daughter (i.e., one who is 18 years of age or older), who has a mental or physical disability, and is incapable of self-care because of that disability. For additional information on requirements relating to an adult son or daughter, see DOL Fact Sheet #28K.
Employees may use Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) or any other existing paid leave to receive full pay during the first 80 hours of unpaid EFML. If an employee exceeds the FFCRA daily rate caps, COVID-19 paid administrative leave will be provided to bring the employee to two-thirds pay. The employee is responsible for further supplementing the difference between their normal pay and what is covered by the combination of FFCRA and PAL by using their own accrued leave and/or other accrued paid time off.
Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) & Expanded Family Medical Leave (EFML)
You may be eligible for both types of leave, but only up to a total of twelve weeks of paid leave. You may take both EPSL and EFML if you are unable to work or telework, despite work being available, to care for your child whose school or place of care is closed, or childcare provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19 related reasons.
The EPSL provides an initial 80 hours (pro-rated for part-time employees) of paid leave. This period can cover the first 80 hours of EFML, which are otherwise unpaid under the EFML, unless you elect to use existing accrued leave.
After the first 80 hours of EFML have elapsed, you will receive 2/3 of your regular pay, up to a maximum of $200 per day, for the hours you would have been scheduled to work in the subsequent remaining weeks under EFML.
Please note that you can only receive the additional weeks of EFML for leave to care for your child whose school or place of care is closed, or childcare provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19 related reasons.