What is the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and what benefits am I entitled to under this new law?

The Federal Government recently enacted the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) in response to the national COVID-19 outbreak, with an effective date of April 1, 2020. The FFCRA includes the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA) and the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLEA).

The EPSLA requires certain employers to provide up to two weeks of paid sick leave, with a maximum of 80 hours for full-time employees, when an employee cannot work or telework due to certain circumstances related to COVID-19, including but not limited to:

  • the need to quarantine or isolate as ordered by the government or advised by a healthcare practitioner;
  • experiencing COVID-19 related symptoms and seeking medical diagnosis; and
  • childcare issues related to school closures or the unavailability of caregivers because of the public health emergency.

The DOL defines a full-time employee as an employee who works over 40 hours per week. EPSL for part-time employees is based on the number of hours worked, on average, over a 2 week period for time out of the office due to illness. All employees regardless of employee type (regular, temporary, or unclassified) who are sick and seeking a medical diagnosis are eligible for this leave, with the exception of healthcare providers and emergency responders.

The EFMLEA requires certain employers to expand job protected leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to cover eligible employees who are unable to work or telework so that they may care for children if schools are closed or their caregivers are unavailable because of a public health emergency. Employees are eligible for EFML if they have been employed for at least 30 calendar days, with the exception of healthcare providers and emergency responders.

Unlike traditional FMLA, EFML is paid leave after the first two work weeks of protected leave. Employees may elect to utilize EPSL or other available accrued leave during the unpaid period. After the first two work weeks, pay shall be calculated based on: (I) an amount that is not less than two-thirds of an employee’s regular rate of pay and (II) the number of hours the employee would otherwise be normally scheduled to work. The employee may elect to supplement EFML pay with accrued leave up to, but not exceeding, 100% of the employee’s normal base pay.

For more information on the FFCRA and Loudoun County procedures related to the FFCRA, please refer to Administrative Policies and Procedures HR-46 (PDF).

Show All Answers

1. Why are face coverings required in the workplace?
2. What should I do if I come in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 or is showing symptoms?
3. What is the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and what benefits am I entitled to under this new law?
4. What are the County’s policies on the use of sick leave or telework for employees who are diagnosed with or displaying symptoms of COVID-19 or who believe they may have been exposed to COVID-19?
5. Can management send an employee home if the employee comes to work sick or displaying obvious cold or flu symptoms? If so, will the employee be required to use paid accrued leave?
6. Can management require an employee to provide a doctor’s note “clearing” the employee to return to work?
7. When can I return to work if I am feeling sick?
8. What should I do if I am concerned that my co-worker may be contagious or is caring for or lives with someone who is contagious?
9. What happens if an employee is sick and does not have any accrued sick leave?
10. Can an employee telework instead of using sick leave?
11. Will an employee with the COVID-19 virus be covered by Family Medical Leave?
12. What if the employee was exposed to the COVID-19 virus at work as a result of his/her job duties? Will the employee’s exposure to illness and/or subsequent illness be covered by Workers’ Compensation?
13. What if an employee needs time off to care for a sick relative with the COVID-19 virus?
14. What accommodations or assistance will be given to employees with child care issues due to a COVID-19 related school closure?
15. I am signed up to go to a conference and I’ve already made travel plans. Since the County has cancelled non-essential travel, what should I do?
16. Does our County medical insurance plan offer any options for virtual care?
17. I am very worried and fearful about COVID-19 and the potential impacts to me and my family. What resources does the County have available to assist employees with dealing with stress?
18. If I or a family member is exhibiting symptoms of the coronavirus and are also covered under the Cigna health plan, how will the COVID-19 testing be covered?
19. I have a question that is not addressed in this FAQ. Who should I direct my inquiry to?