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 third in a series of blogs to break down how FFCRA will impact small businesses. If you haven’t already, please read our first blog on the EFMLEA here and the second blog on the EPSLA here.
Am I required to give my employees notice of EFMLEA and EPSLA?
Yes, the FFCRA requires that you let your employees know of these laws and the benefits that are available to them. Here is a sample notice. The Act requires that notice be posted in a conspicuous place on the premises.
What if my employees are working remotely?
If your workforce is working remotely, you can satisfy the requirement by emailing, direct mailing, or posting the notice on an employee information website.
Does this notice apply to employees recently laid off?
No, this notice applies to only current employees.
Am I required to restore an employee, who takes leave under EFMLEA and EPSLA, to their same position?
Yes, eligible employees who take leave under the new legislation are entitled to be restored to their position or an equivalent position unless an exception applies. Equivalent position means a position with equivalent pay, benefits and conditions of employment. Employers may not discharge, discipline or otherwise discriminate against an employee who takes leave under the FFCRA and/or files a complaint or institutes a proceeding under or related to the FFCRA.
Are there any exceptions to restoring an employee to their position?
Yes, an employer with fewer than 25 employees does not have the obligation to restore an employee to their same position when the following three conditions exist:
This obligation does not apply to employers with fewer than 25 employees when:
- An employee takes leave and their position no longer exists due to economic conditions or other changes in the employer’s operating conditions that affect employment and are caused by a public health emergency (e.g., COVID-19) during the period of the leave; and
- The employer has made reasonable efforts to restore the employee to an equivalent position; and
- If those reasonable efforts fail, the employer has made reasonable efforts to contact the employee about an equivalent position for one year following the end of the COVID-19 related emergency or the end of the employee’s twelve weeks of COVID -19 related leave.
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) 530-3070 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.