On March 18, 2020, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA” or “Act”) was signed into law. Beginning April 1, 2020, the law requires employers to provide two weeks’ paid leave to employees who need to take time off because of an actual or potential illness related to COVID-19, to care for ill or quarantined family members due to COVID-19 exposure, or to care for children who are home because of school or care provider closures due to the pandemic. The new law further requires employers to provide employees up to 12 weeks leave, with 10 weeks paid, to employees who have to take time off to care for children due to school or day care closure. https://publicemployees.legal/dol-signs-into-law-the-emergency-paid-sick-leave-act-for-quarantined-individuals/

Many employees who have been furloughed or put off work due to the global pandemic have expressed concern as to whether they would have to first exhaust the leave they are previously guaranteed through their employment. However, any FFCRA paid sick leave is in addition to any sick leave offered by the employer, as well all other vacation, PTO, or other leaves than an employer typically grants employees.

Furthermore, the employer MAY NOT require its employees to exhaust other leave or PTO before offering access to the FFCRA paid sick time. The employer must first allow an employee to use the FFCRA paid sick leave first, and only after that federal paid sick time is exhausted may the employer require its employees to use their other forms of leave.

Paid sick time provided under this Act does not carryover from one year to the next. Employees are not entitled to reimbursement for unused leave upon termination, resignation, retirement, or other separation from employment. Additionally, an employee may elect to substitute any accrued vacation leave, personal leave, or medical or sick leave for the first two weeks of partial paid leave under this section.

For more information on the FFCRA, click here: https://www.dla.mil/Portals/104/Documents/Careers/DLA%20FFCRA%20FAQ%204-10-20.pdf?ver=2020-04-10-113338-693