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Worker Rights and Benefits: What Benefits Does the Families First Coronavirus Response Act Provide?



2021 UPDATE: The Families First Coronavirus Response Act ended on December 31, 2020. This means that the COVID-19 protected leaves, both paid and unpaid, have ended. Questions about how your employer is currently handling COVID-19 related leaves should be directed to your employer. If you still believe you are being treated unlawfully at work, please reach out to our Worker Information Line at (216) 861-5899.

Is there any protected leave related to COVID-19 in 2021?

Under the FFCRA, an employer may voluntarily elect to continue providing FFCRA leave to their employees. Once again, please consult your employer on their 2021 COVID-19 related leave policies.

Are there any other options for COVID-19 related leave?

You may consult your employer’s sick leave policies and policies related to the Family Medical Leave Act (also known as FMLA) for potential protected leaves. Please remember that if you are eligible for protected FMLA leave, your employer is not required to pay you for FMLA leave.

What is the Families First Coronavirus Response Act?

In response to the Coronavirus crisis, the federal government passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. It is called the “Families First Act” in these FAQs. The Families First Act has two parts:

  1. The Emergency Expansion of the Family Medical Leave Act; and
  2. The Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act

Under the Emergency Expansion of Family Medical Leave Act (“EEFMLA”), called “Emergency Medical Leave” in these FAQs, some employees who have to take time off from work because of the coronavirus cannot be fired.

Under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (“EPSLA”), called “Emergency Paid Leave” in these FAQs, some employees can be paid if they have to miss work as a result of the coronavirus.

Both parts of the Families First Act take effect on April 2, 2020 and end on December 31, 2020.

What Employers must follow the Families First Act?

The Families First Act applies to all employers with less than 500 employees. But, a small business with less than 50 employees may not have to follow this new law. The business must show that following this law could force them to close.

Where Can I Find More Information on the Families First Act?

Click here for more information about Emergency Medical Leave.
Click here for more information about Emergency Paid Leave.

Also, see below for information for employees from the federal Department of Labor:

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