2127 - Families First Coronavirus Response Act
- Employee Relations Officers
- Personnel Officers
- Personnel Transactions Supervisors
- Provides information on the expansion of FMLA and Sick Leave benefits due to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).
On March 18, 2020, the federal government enacted the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which enacted both the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act and the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act.
Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act
The Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA) is effective April 1, 2020. Payments for EPSLA are processed by the department. Under the EPSLA, employees who are unable to work or telework are entitled to two-weeks of emergency paid sick leave for sick leave related to COVID-19. Specifically, employees can use the paid sick leave if they are:
- Subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19;
- Advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine related to COVID-19;
- Experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and are seeking a medical diagnosis;
- Caring for an individual subject to an order described in (1) or self-quarantine as described in (2);
- Caring for his or her child whose school or place of care is closed (or child care provider is unavailable) due to COVID-19 related reasons; or
- Experiencing any other substantially-similar condition specified by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The employee’s time base determines the number of paid sick leave hours the employee is entitled to receive.
- Full-time employees receive up to 80 hours of paid sick leave at the employee’s regular rate of pay.
- Part-time employees with a set time base receive a prorated amount based on their time base.
- Intermittent employees’ departments must:
- Take the past six-months of work and calculate the average number of hours to determine the average daily hour entitlement; if the employee has not worked six months, then;
- The number of hours the employer and employee agreed they would work each week upon hire.
Paid sick time for this purpose will be documented as Administrative Time Off (ATO) on the employee’s timesheet. ATO over 30 calendar days for these purposes does not require approval from the Department of Human Resources, Personnel Services Branch.
Any ATO provided to employees due to COVID-19 prior to April 1, 2020, does not count toward the employee’s emergency paid sick leave entitlement.
Employers may not discharge, discipline, or otherwise discriminate against any employee based upon the employee’s use of emergency paid sick leave.
Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act
Effective April 1, 2020 the federal government enacted the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which includes the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (E-FMLA).
E-FMLA requires certain employers to provide employees who have worked for the employer for 30-days with up to 12-workweeks of paid FMLA leave if they are unable to work or telework for specified reasons related to COVID-19. Specifically, eligible employees can take up to 12-workweeks of leave to provide care for their child whose school or daycare is closed because of COVID-19. Employees do not have to have worked for the employer for 12-months or have worked 1,250 hours in the 12-months preceding the leave to be eligible for E-FMLA. Payments for E-FMLA are processed by the department.
The first two weeks of E-FMLA are unpaid, although employees can elect to use their two weeks of paid sick leave discussed above. For weeks 3 to 12 of E-FMLA, employees will be paid two-thirds of their salary, up to $200/per day up to a total of $10,000. Employees can elect to use leave credits to supplement their E-FMLA. The maximum daily entitlement and overall total are the same regardless of the employee’s time base.
E-FMLA utilizes the same 12-week entitlement as FMLA. If an employee has used any of their 12-week entitlement under FMLA, the entitlement under E-FMLA will be reduced by the amount already used.
If leave under this program is foreseeable, an employee shall provide their employer with such notice of leave as is practicable.
Employers may not discharge, discipline, or otherwise discriminate against any employee based upon the employee’s use of E-FMLA leave
Employees receiving pay at two-thirds may elect to use applicable available leave credits to supplement up to full pay.
Required Documentation for E-FMLA
In order to take E-FMLA, employees must provide documents to support the need to care for a child whose school or place of care is closed due to COVID-19 related reasons. This may be a notice of closure or unavailability from the child’s school, place of care or child care provider. The notice may include a notice that may have been posted on a government, school or day care website, published in a newspaper or email to the parent from an employee or official of the school, place of care, or child care provider.
Absent the distinctions discussed above, the FMLA and California Family Rights Act policies, which can be found in HR Manual section 2107, apply to E-FMLA.
Effective April 1, 2020, departments must post the notices required by the Department of Labor. The postings can be found at: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic.
Departments should post the notices at the worksite, distribute them electronically to all staff, as well as post them on the department’s website or intranet site.
The work of our health care providers and emergency responders is critical to the operations of our state departments. For this reason, the state will exempt certain classifications from being eligible for EPSLA and E-FMLA, which is specifically permitted by federal law.
Departments are required to submit a list of classifications that meet the definitions provided by the Department of Labor (DOL) to the Personnel Services Branch at email@example.com.
Health care providers for purposes of exclusion are defined by the DOL as:
A health care provider is anyone employed at any doctor’s office, hospital, health care center, clinic, post-secondary educational institution offering health care instruction, medical school, local health department or agency, nursing facility, retirement facility, nursing home, home health care provider, any facility that performs laboratory or medical testing, pharmacy, or any similar institution, Employer, or entity.
Emergency responders for purposes of exclusion are defined by DOL as:
An emergency responder is anyone necessary for the provision of transport, care, healthcare, comfort and nutrition of such patients, or others needed for the response to COVID-19. This includes but is not limited to military or national guard, law enforcement officers, correctional institution personnel, fire fighters, emergency medical services personnel, physicians, nurses, public health personnel, emergency medical technicians, paramedics, emergency management personnel, 911 operators, child welfare workers and service providers, public works personnel, and persons with skills or training in operating specialized equipment or other skills needed to provide aid in a declared emergency, as well as individuals who work for such facilities employing these individuals and whose work is necessary to maintain the operation of the facility.
Please see the list of exempt classifications in the Resources section below.
Employees exempt from this policy may still be eligible for Administrative Time Off (ATO) or other leave pursuant to policy and guidance previously issued. Employees should consult their supervisors and Human Resources Office with questions about eligibility. Departments should consider any requests for ATO or other leave on a case-by-case basis.
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act expires on December 31, 2020.
Departments must develop a mechanism to manually track all pay provided to employees under these programs. The tracking mechanism must include the employee’s name, dates the entitlements were used, days/hours of leave, and total amount paid to the employee.
Employees must clearly document on their timesheet in the comments section or location as defined by the department the leave which they are using. For example: when using any portion of the two weeks of EPSLA, it should be stated in the comments section along with the dates, in addition to the ATO time documented on the applicable days.
Intermittent Leave Use
If approved by the supervisor, employees may use leave intermittently if they are unable to work or telework due to reason 5, to care for an employee’s child whose school or place of care is closed (or child care provider is unavailable) due to COVID-19 related reasons. Additionally, if approved by the supervisor, employee’s teleworking away from the normal worksite who are unable to work or telework due to any of the qualifying reasons may use EPSLA intermittently.
For payroll processing instructions a State Controller’s Office Payroll Letter will be forthcoming.
- Families First Coronavirus Act FAQs: Families First Coronavirus Act FAQs
- Classifications Excluded from FFCRA: Classifications Excluded from FFCRA
- Department of Labor Families First Coronavirus Response Act: COVID-19 and the American Workplace
Personnel Services Branch
Personnel Program Consultant , Personnel Services Branch
Chief, Personnel Management Division