Coronavirus Update for March 31: Understanding the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)

Dear Western Community,

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act was passed and signed into law on March 19, 2020. The Act provides for two paid leaves that employers across the United States must provide to employees in response to the coronavirus epidemic. The FFCRA is effective on April 1, 2020 and expires on December 31, 2020. The Act provides for two sources of paid leave: Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act and the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act.

Generally, the Act provides that employees of covered employers are eligible for:

  • Two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick time at the employee’s regular rate of pay where the employee is unable to work because the employee is quarantined (pursuant to Federal, State, or local government order or advice of a health care provider), and/or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis; or
  • Two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick time at two-thirds the employee’s regular rate of pay because the employee is unable to work because of a bona fide need to care for an individual subject to quarantine (pursuant to Federal, State, or local government order or advice of a health care provider), or to care for a child (under 18 years of age) whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19, and/or the employee is experiencing a substantially similar condition as specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the Secretaries of the Treasury and Labor; and
  • Up to an additional 10 weeks of paid family leave at two-thirds the employee’s regular rate of pay where an employee, who has been employed for at least 30 calendar days, is unable to work due to a bonafide need for leave to care for a child whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19.

Notice: Where leave is foreseeable, an employee should provide notice of leave to the employer as is practicable. After the first workday of paid sick time, an employer may require employees to follow reasonable notice procedures in order to continue receiving paid sick time.

Qualifying Reasons for Leave:

Under the FFCRA, an employee qualifies for paid sick time if the employee is unable to work (or unable to telework) due to a need for leave because the employee:

1. is subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19;

2. has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine related to COVID-19;

3. is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and is seeking a medical diagnosis;

4. is caring for an individual subject to an order described in (1) or self-quarantine as described in (2);

5. is caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed (or child care provider is unavailable) for reasons related to COVID-19; or

6. is experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the Secretaries of Labor and Treasury.

Under the FFCRA, an employee qualifies for expanded family leave if the employee is caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed (or child care provider is unavailable) for reasons related to COVID-19. Employees may elect to use any accrued vacation leave, personal leave, or medical or sick leave for the first two weeks of partial paid leave under this section.

Duration of Leave:

For reasons (1)-(4) and (6): A full-time employee is eligible for 80 hours of leave, and a part-time employee is eligible for the number of hours of leave that the employee works on average over a two-week period.

For reason (5): A full-time employee is eligible for up to 12 weeks of leave (two weeks of paid sick leave followed by up to 10 weeks of paid expanded family & medical leave) at 40 hours a week, and a part-time employee is eligible for leave for the number of hours that the employee is normally scheduled to work over that period.

Calculation of Pay:

For leave reasons (1), (2), or (3): employees taking leave are entitled to pay at either their regular rate or the applicable minimum wage, whichever is higher, up to $511 per day and $5,110 in the aggregate (over a 2-week period).

For leave reasons (4) or (6): employees taking leave are entitled to pay at 2/3 their regular rate or 2/3 the applicable minimum wage, whichever is higher, up to $200 per day and $2,000 in the aggregate (over a 2-week period).

For leave reason (5): employees taking leave are entitled to pay at 2/3 their regular rate or 2/3 the applicable minimum wage, whichever is higher, up to $200 per day and $12,000 in the aggregate (over a 12-week period).

How to apply for FFCRA leave:

If you are unable to work (or telework) and need to take time off under FFCRA, please notify your supervisor as soon as possible and do the following: 

1. Fill out a Leave Request Form.

  • If taking time off for your own diagnosis or quarantine due to COVID-19 (reason 1-3), then select “COVID-19 Employee 100% Paid Sick.”
  • If taking time off to care for family member (reason 4), then select “COVID-19 2/3 Paid Sick.”
  • If taking time off due to your child’s school or place of care being closed (reason 5), then select “COVID-19 Child 2/3 Paid Leave.”

2. Route form to supervisor.

3. Supervisor will then route the form to hr.forms@wwu.edu.

Upon receipt of your form, HR will verify if employees have been employed for at least 30 calendar days for the paid family leave. HR will also calculate the average number of hours worked for part-time employees to determine the paid sick time hours to be received.

HR may request appropriate documentation to support the need for leave.

If you are needing to take more than 2 weeks of leave under FFCRA for reasons 1,2,3,or 4, then contact Julie Moon, Medical Leave & Disability Administrator to see if you may be eligible to take additional leave under regular FMLA or the new Washington Paid Family & Medical Leave program.

Human Resources will continue to provide 24/7 service. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us at 360-650-3774 or hr@wwu.edu at any time with questions.

QUESTIONS:

Employee/Labor Relations consultants: 

  • Kelsie Swanson (BFA, URM) at x4065 
  • Megan Galley (ESS, UA) at x2615 
  • Gretchen Lucas (AA) at x2513

Faculty Relations consultant:

  • Austin Cooper at x3915

During this time, you may be faced with delays in Human Resource services. We appreciate your patience!

Chyerl Wolfe-Lee

Assistant Vice President for Human Resources

 

The Incident Command System team at Western has established three goals for all of our preparation and response to COVID-19:  to protect life safety and minimize the spread of the coronavirus illness, to maintain – as much as possible – the continuity of Western’s operations, and to communicate with our communities as fully as possible.

Western's coronavirus information website features Frequently Asked Questions; has links to campus, regional and national resources; an archive of campus messaging and media stories about coronavirus; a new toll-free campus coronavirus information line, and more. The site is a living document, and will get frequent updates as the coronavirus situation evolves.

 

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Tuesday, March 31, 2020 - 2:58pm

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