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The Families First Coronavirus Response Act FAQ

RR032520 familiesMarch 25, 2020 – On March 18, President Trump signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) in response to the spread of the novel coronavirus and the illness it causes, COVID-19. According to an article by Ogletree Deakins, among other fiscal packages, the act does three things: (1) expands the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) temporarily (until the end of December 2020) to cover leave needed for the care of children out of school because of COVID-19 and also makes weeks 3 through 12 of its effective period paid leave; (2) creates two weeks of paid sick leave for childcare and other leave related to the coronavirus; and (3) provides for tax credits related to the paid leave provisions created by the act. The FMLA amendments and the new federal sick leave were created in separate and distinct sections. In many respects, they will operate independently, but they were also clearly meant to align with one another, as they have many commonalities.

Both new laws apply only to certain covered employers (private employers with fewer than 500 employees, governmental agencies, and schools). These employers need to be ready to provide these leaves starting on April 1, 2020.

Answers to some frequently asked questions about the FMLA amendments and the new paid sick leave law in addition to recommendations as to how they may be interpreted once the FFCRA is effective, can be found here.