MSK Minute: Stephen Franz Discusses Back-to-School Questions Related to the FFCRA

As kids begin returning to school in person, virtually or on a hybrid schedule, new questions regarding an employee’s eligibility for paid leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) are emerging. In this video, MSK attorney Stephen Franz addresses these questions and more. Continue reading MSK Minute: Stephen Franz Discusses Back-to-School Questions Related to the FFCRA

COVID-19 Tax Relief

Written by Jeffrey Davine

COVID-19 Related Legislation

As has been widely publicized, the federal government has enacted legislation that is  designed to provide tax and other relief to employers as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.  The tax relief is principally in the form of tax credits for payroll taxes that an employer is required to remit to the IRS when paying wages to its employees.

One of the laws enacted is the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the “CARES” Act).  The CARES Act was signed into law on March 27th.  It provides for a refundable payroll tax credit for employers whose businesses have been adversely affected by the Coronavirus.

Another statute enacted is the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (the “FFCRA”).  It was signed into law on March 18th.  The FFCRA provides small and midsize employers with refundable payroll tax credits to reimburse them for the cost of providing paid sick and family leave wages/salary to employees for an absence that is related to COVID-19.

The relief that is provided by both of these laws applies to both for-profit and nonprofit entities. Continue reading “COVID-19 Tax Relief”

Los Angeles Makes Big Moves for Big Employers

Los Angeles Enacts New Emergency Paid Sick Leave Ordinance For Large Employers

Written by Jeremy Mittman and Stephen Franz

On April 7, 2020, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti approved the City Council’s Emergency Ordinance (“the Ordinance”) mandating employers of either (a) 500 or more employees within the City of Los Angeles; or (b) 2,000 or more employees within the United States, to offer Paid Sick Leave for COVID-19 related reasons.  The Ordinance is effective April 7, 2020.  The Ordinance is in response to the enactment of the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”), which does not cover employers with more than 500 employees from its paid leave provisions.  While the Ordinance is designed to supplement the FFCRA and provide paid sick leave for Los Angeles employees of larger employers (with some exceptions), it differs from the FFCRA in several respects, set forth below. Continue reading “Los Angeles Makes Big Moves for Big Employers”

New FFCRA Regulations Provide Clarity

Top 15 Practical Takeaways From the New Sick and Family Leave DOL Regulations

Written by Jeremy Mittman and Stephen Franz 

On the same day the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”) took effect, the U.S. Department of Labor’s (”DOL”) Wage and Hour Division (“WHD”) posted a temporary rule issuing regulations to the FFCRA on April 1, 2020.  The rule, which expires on December 31, 2020, provides much-needed clarity to the expanded family and medical leave and emergency paid sick leave provisions of the FFCRA.  This is the latest guidance on the FFCRA from the DOL, which previously published and updated a series of “Questions and Answers” related to the law’s paid leave provisions after its enactment.  Our prior analysis of the FFCRA and how it affects employers is available here.

Because the rule answers previously unaddressed questions and clarifies the DOL’s prior guidance, Employers may need to adjust their FFCRA policies and practices accordingly.  Fortunately, the WHD will not start enforcing the FFCRA until April 18, 2020, so Employers have time to react to these new rules.

Here are the top 15 new takeaways for Employers from the rule. Continue reading “New FFCRA Regulations Provide Clarity”

Department of Labor Releases Initial Q&A for Families First Coronavirus Response Act

Department of Labor Releases Initial Q&A for Families First Coronavirus Response Act, Effective April 1, 2020

Written by Jeremy Mittman and Stephen Franz 

On March 24, 2020 the U.S. Department of Labor (”DOL”) published an initial series of “Questions and Answers” related to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”).  The FFCRA contains COVID-19-related paid family leave and sick leave provisions which apply to private employers with fewer than 500 employees.  Notably, and surprisingly, the DOL states that the FFCRA is effective on April 1, 2020.  Because the FFCRA states the leave provisions shall take effect “not later than 15 days” after the March 18, 2020 date of enactment, many assumed that the DOL would begin enforcement on April 2, 2020.  The agency did not provide any reason for this accelerated start date.

The Questions and Answers address topics including how an employer may count its employees in determining the 500-employee threshold, whether the paid leave requirements are retroactive, and how to calculate employees’ pay for leave purposes (additional detail provided in the guidance itself, copied below). Unfortunately, the Questions and Answers do not answer two of the most pressing questions facing many employers: (1) whether “shelter in place” orders are “quarantine or isolation” orders necessitating paid leave under the FFCRA; and (2) whether furloughed employees are eligible for paid leave.  Employers should expect further guidance from the DOL in the coming days, including more Q&A, which will hopefully address these critical issues. Continue reading “Department of Labor Releases Initial Q&A for Families First Coronavirus Response Act”