Here are the 3 most common questions we get from our small business members about paid leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA):
1) One of my employees has already used their 2 weeks/80 hours of paid FFCRA leave but now they can’t work because they have COVID-19. Do I have to give them another 2 weeks of paid leave?
No. The FFCRA requires employers give employees 2 weeks (80 hours) of paid leave only if the employee cannot work because of one of these reasons:
- The employee has been told to quarantine by a health care provider or by a government order.
- The employee has COVID-19 symptoms and is seeking a diagnosis (i.e., they are getting a COVID-19 test and are waiting on the results).
- The employee must stay home to care for someone who has been quarantined by a health care provider or by a government order.
- The employee must stay home to care for a child under 18 whose school or childcare is unavailable due to COVID-19. These employees are also eligible for an additional 10 weeks of paid leave, for a total of 12 weeks’ paid leave.
Employers are only required to give the 2 weeks paid leave one time. Once an employee has used their 2 weeks of paid leave, they don’t get another two weeks even if they meet one of the reasons above.
If one of your employees has used their 2 weeks of paid leave and then gets sick with COVID-19 or has to quarantine because they were exposed to someone with COVID-19, you can decide whether to allow the employee to take unpaid leave or to use any vacation/sick time the employee has. But you do not have to provide another 2 weeks of paid leave under the FFCRA.
The only time employees may get additional paid leave is for reason #4 above: if an employee has to stay home to care for a minor child whose school or daycare is closed due to COVID-19, they may be entitled to an additional 10 weeks of paid leave.
2) One of my employees took 4 days of paid FFCRA leave last month because he had a COVID-19 test and was waiting on the test results. He returned to work when the test was negative, and we paid him for the 4 days he was out. Now we need him to quarantine because his wife has COVID-19 and we do not want him coming to work for 14 days. Can he now use the 6 remaining days of paid leave?
Yes. The employee is entitled to take the remaining hours of paid leave (6 work days in this example). The rest of the leave can either be unpaid or vacation/sick leave at the employer’s discretion.
3) One of my employees took their 2 weeks (80 hours) of paid FFCRA leave and then was furloughed. We’ve now rehired her and she’s back at work. Does she get another two weeks of paid leave?
No. Employees are only entitled to 80 total hours of paid sick leave under the FFCRA.