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What Working Parents Should Know About The Families First Coronavirus Response Act

  • 10 June, 2020

Even as more states, like California, gradually begin reopening schools, the future might still feel uncertain for working parents, as COVID-19 still poses a risk to further disrupt families’ day to day lives. For instance, many schools that are re-opening are only opening at limited capacity, and with almost all summer camps or childcare centers closed parents might still be finding it hard to balance their work and family life.

It is with these uncertainties that working parents should become aware of the assistance the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) can provide.

The FFCRA provides working parents with up to 12 weeks of partial paid leave if they are struggling to acquire child care due to COVID-19. The employers pay for this partial paid leave through a refundable tax credit administered by the Department of Treasury and is in effect from April 12 through December 31, 2020.

To break it down further, the FRCA is actually composed of two parts. The first is the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA) and the second is the Emergency Family Medical Leave Expansion Act (EMFLEA).

The EPSLA allows for employees to collect two weeks of paid sick leave if they need to take care of a child because either their school or childcare centers are closed as a result of COVID-19. However, the paid sick leave will be at two-thirds of one’s normal rate of pay.

The EMFLEA allows for employees to collect 12 weeks of family and medical leave if they need to take care of a child because either their school or childcare centers are closed as a result of COVID-19. The EMFLEA, however, does not pay for the first two weeks. The remaining 10 weeks will be paid, but also at two thirds of one’s normal rate of pay.

Working parents may choose to only use one of the acts above but are also allowed to combine both. Once combined the first two weeks that the EMFLEA does not pay will then be covered by the EPSLA. If working parents qualify then in total employees can have a total of three months of partial pay leave.

Nevertheless, there are some caveats and not all employees might qualify for the FFCRA. Therefore, listed are 5 rules that employees must know when seeking assistance through the FFCRA.

    1. If your employer has less than 50 employees, then your employer is not          obligated to provide for the paid leave under the FFCRA.
    2. To qualify your employer must have available work for you. Thus, if you are currently furloughed or unemployed you do not qualify for the FFCRA.
    3. To qualify for the additional 10 weeks under the EMFLEA you have to be employed for at least 30 calendar days.
    4. The partial pay will be capped at $200 per day and over the 12 weeks the total will be capped at $12,000.
    5. Part time workers do qualify but your pay will be determined by the average numbers of hours worked over a two week period.
    6.  If in the past year you have already taken Family and Medical Leave then that time will be deducted from the 12 weeks available under the FFCRA.

Source: Forbes

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