FAQ: The Families First Coronavirus Response Act

The outbreak of the novel coronavirus dubbed COVID-19 is as historical as the world’s reaction to it and the countermeasures implemented to combat its spread. The number of cases in California topped just over 1,000 by March 20, which may put the state’s sick leave laws to task as the number of cases continues to swell.

In the midst of the surge in new coronavirus cases, Congress passed The Families First Coronavirus Act on March 18 to help workers affected by COVID-19. Here’s what you need to know about this law.

How Much Paid Sick Leave Do I Get?

Qualified employees are entitled to two weeks of paid sick leave. The leave can be used if an employee undergoes quarantine, becomes ill with the coronavirus, or seeks preventative care and testing for the virus.

Who Is Qualified for this Leave?

Employees of companies with 50 to 500 employees and who have been employed for at least 30 days.

Are Any Workers Excluded?

A lot of workers won’t qualify. If your employer has less than 50 or more than 500 employees, you will not qualify for this leave. Small businesses can qualify for exemptions to this law if they can successfully argue that such leave would put them out of businesses. Lastly, employees who work in critical fields such as healthcare or emergency response may also apply for exemptions.

Are Part-Time Employees Eligible?

Yes. Part-time workers will be paid their typical earnings for a two-week period should they use this leave.

What About Independent Contractors?

Self-employed workers are entitled to paid leave if they pay their taxes. Their pay will be based on the daily average for their annual self-employment income. They can reduce their quarterly tax payments accordingly and claim the full amount as a tax credit on next year’s returns.

It’s important to note that this applies to all independent contractors, including gig economy workers who might earn an income through apps like Uber, Postmates, Instacart, and others.

Do I Get Paid Leave if My Child’s School Is Closed?

Yes, under this law you can qualify for 12 weeks of paid leave to care for a child whose school has shut down. However, this may be limited to situations where no other childcare options are available due to the threat of COVID-19 exposure.

Is Paid Leave All I Get?

No. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act bundles paid work leave with free COVID-19 testing, an expansion of unemployment benefits, and more food aid. There may also be stimulus packages applicable to individuals and small business coming down the pike.

Is this Law Permanent?

No. It’s set to expire at the end of the year and is narrowly applicable to COVID-19 cases.

Limonjyan Law Group: Looking out for American Workers

The employment law attorney at Limonjyan Law Group is dedicated to helping employees navigate their rights at work. The landscape of employment laws and regulations was recently altered in a radical way, and we’re on top of how these changes can impact workers like you.

If you need help holding an employer accountable for violating an of these new regulations or those that have been on the books for a while, we can help. A state of emergency means that the laws apply now more than ever, and we’re capable and willing to help you navigate your legal challenges every step of the way.

Contact Limonjyan Law Group online or call (213) 277-7444 to learn more about how we can help.