Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) Guidance
Emergency Family Medical Leave Expansion Act
Note: The federal mandate for employers to provide this leave expired Dec. 31, 2020. However, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, allowed agencies and institutions to voluntarily continue offering the expanded family medical leave that had been required by the FFCRA through March 31, 2021, up to the original entitlement.
The ARP further extends agencies’ and institutions’ ability to voluntarily offer expanded family medical leave created by the FFCRA through Sept. 30, 2021. Some provisions of the FFCRA were amended by the ARP; those changes are included below.
Under the Emergency Family Medical Leave Expansion Act (E-FMLA), for employees with at least 30 days’ service, covered employers must provide:
Up to an additional 10 weeks of paid expanded family and medical leave at two-thirds the eligible employee’s regular rate of pay, as determined under section 7(e) of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, if the employee is unable to work due to a legitimate need to care for a child whose school or child-care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19.
Note: The amount of pay for an employee in these circumstances is limited to a maximum of $200 per day, or a total of $10,000 for 10 weeks.
For the period from April 1 through Sept. 30, 2021, the ARP raises the maximum amount for paid family leave wages from $10,000 to $12,000 and eliminates the requirement that the initial 10 days be unpaid. The ARP also amended the E-FMLA so all reasons listed as eligible for leave under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA), as amended, are qualifying reasons for leave under the E-FMLA.
These are temporary qualifying reasons to take job-protected leave under the Family Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA), not an extension of additional time beyond the 12 work weeks provided by the FMLA. Employees will only be eligible to take paid leave under the E-FMLA to the extent that they have not already exhausted their FMLA entitlement.
Employers of health care providers or emergency responders may elect to exclude such employees from eligibility for the leave provided under the act.