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Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)

​Families First Coronavirus Response Act is a new federal law that requires employers to provide certain employer-paid leave for employees who can’t work or telework due to COVID-19-related reasons described in the Act. The law permits employees to take qualifying leave between now and Dec. 31, 2020, unless the COVID-19 emergency ends before that date.

Take a look at the resources below to learn more, including a chart that summarizes the details of each leave:

Please keep safe and we continue to appreciate all that you do for the City of Raleigh.

Families First Coronavirus Response Act – Paid Leave 

Provisions 

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act is a new federal law that requires employers to provide certain employer-paid leave for employees who cannot work or telework due to COVID-19 related reasons described in the Act. The law permits employees to take qualifying leave between now and December 31, 2020, unless the COVID-19 emergency ends before that date. 

The new law provides two types of leave for those who cannot work/telework: 

  • A new category of Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave related to childcare called Public Health Emergency Leave (PHL); 
  • Up to two weeks (80 hours maximum) of Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) for reasons described in the law. 

Effective April 1, 2020, both new leave benefits are available to all City employees who qualify for them. A chart summarizing the details of each leave is attached as well as a copy of the U.S. Department of Labor poster describing the leave. While the Act allows employers to exclude employees who provide services essential to respond to the COVID-19 crisis (emergency responders), so long as conditions allow it, the City will include all employees in the new leave. 

Public Health Emergency Leave - Family and Medical Leave Expansion 

The new type of FMLA leave, called Public Health Emergency Leave (PHL), applies when an employee is unable to work or telework because he or she needs leave to care for his or her child (under the age of 18 in most cases) because the child’s: 

  • School or place of care is closed due to the COVID-19 public health emergency; or 
  • Childcare provider is unavailable due to the COVID-10 public health emergency. 

An employee is eligible for PHL if he or she has been employed for 30 calendar days and the leave applies to both full-time and part-time employees. The first two weeks of PHL is unpaid. Thereafter, PHL is paid at a reduced rate, which is generally two-thirds of the employee’s regular rate for the number of hours that the employee is regularly scheduled to work. The law sets a daily maximum payment of $200 and a maximum total leave amount of $12,000 per employee. Like all other types of FMLA, use of PHL counts toward an employee’s 12 week FMLA entitlement. 

Emergency Paid Sick Leave 

The new Emergency Paid Sick Leave (“EPSL”) is available to all employees, both full-time and part-time, who are unable to work or telework for the following COVID-19-related reasons: 

  1. Employee is subject to a federal, state or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19. 
  2. Employee has been directed by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19 infection. 
  3. Employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis. 
  4. Employee is caring for an immediate family member, someone who lives with the employee, or someone who otherwise would expect care who is subject to a federal, state or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19 or who has been advised by their healthcare provider to self-quarantine for COVID-19 related reasons. 
  5. Employee is caring for his or her child whose school or place of care is closed (or child care provider is unavailable) due to COVID-19 -related reasons. 
  6. Employee is experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 

An employee may use up to two weeks (a maximum of 80 hours) of paid sick leave based on an employee’s regular rate of pay and regularly scheduled hours, paid at: 

  • 100 percent for qualifying reasons stated in No. 1-3 above, with a maximum daily amount set by law at $511 daily and $5,110 total; 
  • Two-thirds for qualifying reasons in No. 4 - 6, up to $200 daily and $2,000 total. The remaining one-third is unpaid leave. 

A few scenarios are included in Figure 1 below to illustrate the impact of leave on pay. 

Families First Day Camp to Support Critical Services Staff 

Beginning on April 13, 2020, the City of Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department will be providing an alternative to PHL and EPSL for childcare needs to those employees who are directly supporting the COVID-19 crisis (eligible for premium pay). 

The Families First Day Camp is a free Kindergarten – 8th grade childcare option, available to employees that are directly supporting the COVID-19 crisis response. Should they choose, these employees will be able to register for the Families First Day Camp as an alternative to PHL and EPSL for childcare. Additional information can be found on the PHL and EPSL Applications.

Requesting Leave

Employees who need to take EPSL or PHL must provide Human Resources with the notice of their need to access this leave within one business day of the first instance of absence. Additionally, employees who stay home for any reason must contact their supervisors via established departmental protocols.

EPSL and PHL request applications are available on Corecon and PeopleSoft Employee Self-Service and can be submitted starting April 8, retroactive to April 1. Employees are asked to submit the application(s), as well as other required documentation as outlined in the application(s), by e-mail to benefitsadministration@raleighnc.gov.

Benefits staff is available to assist employees if they have any questions related to PHL and EPSL. Please e-mail benefitsadministration@raleighnc.gov or call 919-996-3315 if you have questions.

Again, we thank you for your continued commitment to your work and the City of Raleigh during these challenging times. Keep in mind that the federal regulations for FFCRA are evolving and more changes are likely to come.

Figure 1

HR and Payroll prepared example scenarios to model possible impacts to an employee's pay if they take paid leave as offered through the FFCRA provisions for Emergency Paid Sick Leave Reasons No. 4-6. The contagion-preventing Emergency Paid Sick Leave reasons (No. 1-3) are not modeled because employees would receive 100 percent of regular pay up to a maximum of $511 per day or $5,110 in total for up to 80 hours.

The below examples assume employee has elected 0 exemptions for Federal and State withholding purposes. All employee contributions for retirement and 401k/457 elections, as well as medical, dental and other voluntary deductions have been excluded for modeling purposes as those are unique to each individual employee.

      Base Salary   5% Premium   FFCRA @ 2/3
Salary $35,000   Bi-Weekly Gross Pay 1346.4   1413.6   897.6
    Federal Withholding 136.52   144.58   82.66
    Federal Social Security * 83.52   87.69   55.7
    Federal Medicare 19.54   20.51   13.03
    State Withholding 50   54   26
    Total Withholdings 289.58   306.78   177.39
    Net Pay 1056.82   1106.82   720.21
    Difference     50   -336.61
               
Salary $55,000     Base Salary   5% Premium   FFCRA @ 2/3
    Bi-Weekly Gross Pay 2115.2   2220.8   1410.4
    Federal Withholding 271.43   294.66   144.2
    Federal Social Security * 131.19   137.74   87.49
    Federal Medicare 30.68   32.21   20.46
    State Withholding 91   97   53
    Total Withholdings 524.3   561.61   305.15
    Net Pay 1590.9   1659.19   1105.25
    Difference     68.29   -485.65
               
Salary $65,000     Base Salary   5% Premium   FFCRA @ 2/3
    Bi-Weekly Gross Pay 2500   2624.8   1666.4
    Federal Withholding 356.08   383.54   174.92
    Federal Social Security * 155.05   162.78   103.36
    Federal Medicare 36.26   38.07   24.18
    State Withholding 112   118   67
    Total Withholdings 659.39   702.39   369.46
    Net Pay 1840.61   1922.41   1296.94
    Difference     81.8   -543.67
               
Salary $85,000     Base Salary   5% Premium   FFCRA @ 2/3
    Bi-Weekly Gross Pay 3269.6   3432.8   2000
    Federal Withholding 525.39   561.3   175.17
    Federal Social Security * 202.76   212.88   124
    Federal Medicare 47.42   49.79   29
    State Withholding 153   162   85
    Total Withholdings 928.57   985.97   413.17
    Net Pay 2341.03   2446.83   1586.83
    Difference     105.8   -754.2
               
* Federal Social Security is pending a final decision regarding any associated payroll tax relief.              
Department:
Human Resources