23 March 2020

Federal Emergency Paid Sick Leave and Paid Family Leave for COVID-19

“Families First Coronavirus Response Act”

Federal Emergency Paid Sick Leave and Paid Family Leave for COVID-19

“Families First Coronavirus Response Act” - Federal Emergency Paid Sick Leave

The President has signed the “Families First Coronavirus Response Act” which provides temporary unpaid or partially paid leave due to COVID-19 (the illness caused by the novel Coronavirus).  The bill which applies to employers with less than 500 employees takes effect April 1, (14 days after the law was enacted), and expires on December 31, 2020.  It is intended to help individuals and families cope with disruptions caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.  It’s important to note that benefits from the federal program are NOT provided by ShelterPoint, or other insurance carriers.  For more information visit the U.S. Department of Labor website.


Who is Eligible?

An employee is eligible if they have been employed for at least 30 calendar days at their current employer.  Employees of health care providers or emergency responders may be exempt from coverage.


How does it work?

The bill helps provide some relief to workers and their families by creating emergency paid sick leave, and paid family leave in the case of school closures.


Emergency Paid Sick Time Act

Employers must provide 2 weeks (10 work days) of paid sick leave to eligible full-time employees who are unable to work (or work remotely) due to COVID-19 related reasons.  Benefits are outlined below.


COVID-19 Reason for Leave

Employee’s pay/benefits

Job Protection

Covered Duration

Employer Costs

Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order

100% of pay capped at $511 per day




2 weeks (10 work days)


Offset 100%

Self-quarantine as advised by a health care provider.

Experiencing symptoms and waiting for diagnosis.

Caring for an individual who is subject to a quarantine or isolation order, or advised to self quarantine by a health care provider.

2/3 of pay capped at $200 per day

Caring for a son or daughter if the school or place of care has been closed, or childcare provider is unavailable due to precautions.

Any other substantially similar condition as specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services.

For Part-time/hourly employees: Paid sick leave benefits are equal to the number of hours the employee works on average over a two-week period.


“Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act” (E-FMLA)

Provides a combination of unpaid and paid leave – up to 2 weeks of unpaid leave, 10 weeks of paid leave, (12 weeks in total) to eligible employees with a minor child who are unable to work (or work remotely) in the event of the closure of the child’s school, or place of care due to COVID-19 precautions.  It’s important to note that this does not extend the time allowed under current FMLA laws, but rather just adds another reason for job-protected leave, and a paid portion.  Benefits are as follows:

  • The first 10 working days of leave are unpaid, but the employee can use 10 days of their accrued paid sick days during this time.
  • After the first 10 working days, benefits are at least 2/3 of pay up to a maximum of $200 per day ($10,000 in total) and reflect the number of hours an employee would normally work.
  • The Labor Department has the authority to exempt small businesses with less than 50 employees from the paid family leave portion, if the requirement to provide leave would put the viability of the business at risk.


How does the Federal “Families First Coronavirus Response Act” relate to NY’s Emergency COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave?

Once the Federal Program goes into effect on April 1, 2020, it will become the primary source for COVID-19 leave benefits. You can read how New York is addressing the time in-between on a state level here.

Most New Yorkers looking to request benefits after April 1, 2020, need to file for support on the Federal, not the State, level.   For more information visit the U.S. Department of Labor website.


Stay tuned to our COVID-19 resource center for new details as they emerge. And be sure to subscribe for updates to stay current on the latest information we have available.



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