FFCRA – IMPORTANT Update for Small Employers

Published Monday, March 30, 2020

The Department of Labor (DOL) recently announced how the Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) and Emergency Family Medical Leave (EFML) provisions of the FFCRA will apply to employers with fewer than 50 employees.

According to the DOL, employers with fewer than 50 employees are exempt from providing EPSL and EFML only for reasons due to school or place of care closures when doing so would jeopardize the viability of the small business as a going concern. A small business may claim this exemption if an authorized officer of the business has determined that:

  • The use of EPSL or EFML would result in the business’s expenses and financial obligations exceeding available business revenues and cause the small business to cease operating at a minimal capacity;
  • The employee’s leave from work would create substantial risk to the financial health or operational capabilities of the small business because of their specialized skills, knowledge of the business, or responsibilities; or
  • There are not enough workers available who are able, willing, and qualified to perform the work done by the employee or employees requesting EPSL or EFML, and this work is needed for the small business to operate at a minimal capacity.

Accordingly, even employers with less than 50 employee must still make EPSL available for the following reasons:

  • The employee is subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation related to COVID-19;
  • The employee has been advised by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19;
  • The employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis;
  • The employee is caring for an individual who is subject to one of the two reasons above;
  • The employee is experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services in consultation with the Secretary of Treasury and the Secretary of Labor.

Cascade is actively monitoring this situation, and will continue to provide additional guidance as more clarifications are issued. Please do not hesitate to reach out if you have any questions. Our team is prepared to answer your questions.

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