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Paid Leave Benefits

View the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Paid Leave Employer Guide

This week the Department of Labor issued new regulations for implementing the leave requirements under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The regulations track the guidance that has already been issued. The DOL also added more entries under their FAQs, the most interesting of which deal with staffing companies (#74) and seasonal employees with irregular hours (#75).   View an infographic that breaks this down.

  • “Paid sick leave” – means paid leave under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act.
  • “Expanded family and medical leave” – means paid leave under the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act.

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act created new temporary paid sick leave and paid Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) programs that are 100% reimbursable by the federal government. The effective date of both programs is April 1 and they expire on December 31, 2020.

Both programs are in addition to any leave you already offer.

The key numbers to remember with these paid leave programs are 500 and 50.
  • If you have fewer than 500 employees, your business is required to provide paid leave under both programs
  • If you have under 50 employees, though, you may be exempted from the requirement to provide leave under both programs (see below)

The Department of Labor has issued clarifying guidance (available at www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic) and will continue to publish more information.

In the meantime, here is the information you need to know now.

Which employees are eligible?

Eighty hours of paid sick leave are available to any employee without regard to the duration of employment if they are unable to work or telework because they:

  • are subject to a government quarantine or isolation order;
  • have been advised to self-quarantine;
  • are seeking a medical diagnosis, or
  • are caring for someone with one of those three conditions.

Leave can also be taken if an individual cannot work or telework because of a need to care for a child whose school has closed or whose regular caregiver is unavailable because of Coronavirus.

How much will employees receive?

While taking paid sick leave, employees will receive their regular rate of pay up to a maximum of $511 per week or $5,110 in the aggregate.

This is reduced to 2/3 their regular rate of pay if they are caring for a family member or child whose school is closed or caregiver is unavailable with a maximum of $200 per day (or $2,000 in aggregate).

Family And Medical Leave Act Program

Which employees are eligible?

To be eligible for paid FMLA leave, an employee must have been on your payroll for 30 days prior to taking leave. In addition, paid FMLA leave is only available if an employee is unable to work or telework because of a need to take care of a child because of a school closure or their regular child care provider is unavailable due to Coronavirus.

How much will employees receive?

Eligible employees may take up to 12 weeks of leave.

  • The first two weeks of that can be unpaid (presumably the employee would be covered underpaid sick-leave for those two weeks).
  • After that, the employee is eligible for 10 weeks of paid FMLA.

While taking paid FMLA leave, the employee will receive 2/3 of his/her regular rate of pay up to a maximum of $200 per day (or $10,000 in aggregate).

For more guidance, please click here to visit the IRS website.

Restoration to the Previous Position: For businesses with fewer than 25 employees, it is not necessary to restore the employee to his/her previous position after paid FMLA leave is taken if the position no longer exists because of the public health emergency and the employer makes reasonable efforts to restore the employee to a similar position.

Unemployment Benefits Expanded

Gov. Whitmer signed an executive order to expand eligibility for unemployment benefits in effect from March 16 through April 12. Michigan’s Unemployment Insurance program provides temporary income to workers who have lost their job through no fault of their own.

UIA Extends Call Center Hours, Adds Staff To Better Serve Customers

The Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) is adding staff and hours to better serve an unprecedented increase in customers filing unemployment claims as a result of COVID-19. The UIA has extended call center hours by an hour every day 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. Monday-Friday and it remains open from 7 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Saturday.  Customers in the call center and online chat queues before closing time will have their calls or chats resolved that day.

Online Filing Schedule at Michigan.gov/UIA: Customers are encouraged to use off-peak times 8 p.m. – 8 a.m.