Businesses across Louisiana are being impacted by the Coronavirus, and those for which business must be transacted face-to-face are the hardest hit. Service and other key members of our state’s workforce and their employers are looking for relief from the economic gut-punch the Coronavirus is delivering. Federal legislation aimed at addressing this issue has recently passed and signed into law.

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) details a variety of attempts to help Americans affected by the Coronavirus. The two most noteworthy are the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Act and the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act. These two provisions will have a dramatic impact on people and small businesses across the country.

The Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLEA) expands the existing federal medical leave program. Currently, the program provides for 12 weeks of job-protected leave without pay. The new legislation requires companies under 500 employees to provide 12 weeks of leave with the first 2 weeks unpaid, and the final 10 weeks paid at two-thirds of their regular pay for both part-time and full-time employees in the event an employee needs to care for a child because daycare or school is closed.

Each employee is limited to $200/day to a $10,000 maximum. Employers will receive a tax credit on their portion of Social Security taxes capped at $200/day per employee and $10,000 overall per quarter. Importantly, he Secretary of Labor has the authority to exclude employers with fewer than 50 employees under certain circumstances.

The Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA) also applies to only companies with under 500 employees. This new mandate requires companies to pay full wages to employees for up to 2 weeks because of Coronavirus-related leave. The EPSLA applies to both full-time and part-time workers only if the employee is unable to work or telework when:

  1. The employee is subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19. Generally, payments are capped at $511 per day and $5,110 per employee.
  2. The employee has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19. Generally, payments are capped at $511 per day and $5,110 per employee.
  3. The employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and needs to seek a medical diagnosis. Generally, payments are capped at $511 per day and $5,110 per employee.
  4. The employee is caring for an individual who is subject to an order similar to those set forth in 1 and 2 above. Generally, payments are capped at $200 per day and $2,000 per employee.
  5. The employee is caring for a son or daughter because school is closed, and the usual child care provider is unavailable due to COVID-19 precautions. Generally, payments are capped at $200 per day and $2,000 per employee.
  6. The employee experiences a substantially similar condition as specified by the government. Generally, payments are capped at $200 per day and $2,000 per employee.

Like with the EFMLEA, employers will be eligible for tax credits on their Social Security taxes cap at $511/day for the first three types of events and 200/day for the last 3 types of events.

For more information on the FFCRA, visit the Department of Labor’s guidance page.

BRAC anticipates more legislation coming to deal with the Coronavirus in the coming weeks and will keep updating our resources to provide further information.

Written by David Zoller

As BRAC’s Manager of Governmental Affairs, David Zoller is responsible for the organization’s governmental relations and advocacy efforts and managing other projects related to economic competitiveness and quality of life.