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23 March 2020

Federal COVID-19 Benefits under the “Families First Coronavirus Response Act”

Emergency Paid Sick Time and Expanded FMLA to help with duress from COVID-19

Federal COVID-19 Benefits under the “Families First Coronavirus Response Act”

March 31, 2021 Update: There have been changes to the NY Emergency Paid Sick Leave law (NYEPSL) and federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) in 2021, and many of the provisions in this blog post no longer apply.  Please visit this new article on the how the 2021 changes may affect you


“Families First Coronavirus Response Act” 

The President has signed the “Families First Coronavirus Response Act” (“FFCRA”) which includes the “Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act” and the “Emergency Paid Sick Time Act” for relief from COVID-19(the illness caused by the novel Coronavirus). This Federal Law provides a combination of paid and unpaid leave to employees of employers with less than 500 employees and will be in effect from April 1 to 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 Law are NOT provided by ShelterPoint.  Please direct any claims for Federal benefits to your employer, as they are benefits may be provided by them.  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.  If you work for a health care provider, please speak to your employer to see if you are eligible.

How does it work?

The FFCRA 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.

Component 1 – 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.


Component 2 – “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.
  • Small businesses with less than 50 employees may be exempt from the paid family leave portion, if the business proves that 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 in effect on April 1, 2020, the Federal Law may be the primary benefit source for NY employees in need of COVID-19 related benefits. But some New Yorkers may still qualify for NY emergency benefits, e.g., if they’re earning more than the federal salary cap or if their quarantine lasts longer than the 2 weeks of Federal benefits. However, the reasons for leave are more liberal under the Federal Law than under NY’s “Emergency COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave” Law. Learn more about how the two laws compare and coordinate here.

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.



This blog post is for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal counsel. Please consult with an appropriate professional for legal and compliance advice. Any Emergency COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave, Disability Benefits Law (DBL) and/or Paid Family Leave (PFL) information is as of the blog post’s date stamp; it is based on the applicable statutes and regulation, and may change as regulations evolve or NY State issues guidance.

Categories: COVID-19 Updates



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