FFCRA Part 2: What Is the Epsla?

what is the epsla

On March 18, 2020, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”) was passed. The FFCRA has two important new laws intended to provide relief for employees in the form of paid leave or paid extended leave and for employers in the form of tax credits and exemptions. The two laws are the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (“EFMLEA”) and the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (“EPSLA”). This blog is the second in a series of blogs to break down how FFCRA will impact small businesses.

What is EPSLA?

The EPSLA entitles employees who are unable to work (telework) due to one of the following six circumstances to paid sick leave:

  1. The employee is subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19.
  2. The employee has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19.
  3. The employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis.
  4. The employee is caring for an individual who is quarantined, isolated or has been advised to self-quarantine.
  5. The employee is caring for a son or daughter if the school or place of care of the son or daughter has been closed, or the childcare provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19.
  6. The employee is experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of Labor.

Here is a flowchart to assist in the analysis.

Do all employees who qualify for EPSLA receive the same benefit?

No, full-time employees are entitled to 80 hours of paid sick leave. Part-time employees are entitled to the average number of hours worked over a two-week period.

Is there a maximum amount that an employee can receive under EPSLA?

Yes, to determine the amount an employee can receive daily you must break the six qualifying circumstances (above) into two categories:

  • In circumstances 1-3 the employee is affected personally. If any of these circumstances applies, an employee will be limited to $511/day (and no more than $5110 in total).
  • In circumstances 4-6, the employee is the care provider. If any of these circumstances applies, an employee limited to a maximum of $200/day (and no more than $2000 in total).

Can employees carry over these sick days into 2021?

No, sick days provided by EPSLA do not carry over to 2021.

Do employees have to use accrued PTO before using sick days under EPSLA?

No, employees entitled to sick days under the EPSLA can use these sick days before using accrued PTO.

We Are Here to Help

The Browne Firm is dedicated to helping our clients navigate these rapidly changing laws as seamlessly as possible. We have created a resource page to help clients in need. Do not hesitate to reach out to our office at (914) 521-3552 if you need guidance regarding how to comply with federal and local restrictions while moving your business through these difficult times. You are not alone. We are all in this together.

Author Bio

Danielle Browne is the founder and managing attorney of The Browne Firm, a New York-based estate planning and business law firm. Danielle leverages her background, serving as general counsel for a Fortune 500 company and working with startups to represent clients in entity formation, intellectual property protection, contract drafting, estate planning, and more.

With more than ten years of experience as an attorney and business executive, she has represented clients ranging from entrepreneurs and small businesses to artists and Fortune 500 companies. Danielle received her Juris Doctor cum laude from the University of Miami School of Law and is licensed to practice in New York. She has received numerous honors for her work, including being named a 2015 Future Leader by the WNBA President while serving as general counsel for the Atlanta Dream.

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