FFCRA Paid Leave - What You Need to Know

Updated: Apr 14, 2020

Temporary rules for paid leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) are now in effect for all employers.

The FFCRA’s effective dates are April 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020. FFCRA paid leave is a federal, COVID-19 relief program that benefits both employees and employers, so eligibility is subject to qualifying circumstances. Employees who are furloughed or laid off, or who are not working because no work is available, are not eligible for FFCRA paid leave.

Please continue reading for a high level summary of the FFCRA paid leave program.

For all businesses during the FFCRA effective dates

If your employee is unable to work due to one of the COVID-19 qualifying reasons below, you must pay your employee the FFCRA paid leave benefit. The amount of FFCRA paid leave to which your employee is entitled is an amount determined by formula and for a capped period of time as set forth in the FFCRA. When you pay the FFCRA leave benefit, you as the employer are entitled to a refundable payroll tax credit that fully offsets your cost.

COVID-19 qualifying reasons:

1. Your employee has tested positive for COVID-19

2. Your employee must self-quarantine as required by a medical professional

3. Your employee must self-quarantine because a member of their household has tested positive for COVID-19 or has been required to self-quarantine by a medical professional

4. Your employee has a child under age 14 whose school or daycare is closed for COVID-19 reasons, has no other care options for their child, and therefore cannot work

During our governor’s stay-home order

If you are a business not included on the State of Washington’s list of essential businesses and you are paying employees to work during the stay-home period, an employee becomes eligible for the FFCRA paid leave program if they notify you that they are unable to work. In this case, eligibility is earned because 1) a governmentally mandated stay-home order is in effect , 2) the employee reports that they are not able to work, and 3) your business is not on the State of Washington’s list of essential businesses. After the stay-home order is lifted, eligibility for the FFCRA paid leave program is earned only if an employee experiences one of the COVID-19 qualifying reasons listed above. In all cases that meet FFCRA eligibility criteria, the FFCRA specifies the amount and duration of the paid leave to which the employee is entitled.

It goes without saying that the mechanics of 1) paying the FFCRA paid leave, 2) claiming the FFCRA refundable payroll tax credit, and 3) retaining proper documentation for proof of eligibility are technical and complicated. If you think you could have circumstances to which FFCRA paid leave rules apply, please let us know you need a conversation with us or need to be directed to additional resources.