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New required Paid Sick Leave: What every employer needs to know.

Updated: Mar 26


On 03/18/2020 Trump signed Bill H.R. 6201 which created a new requirement for all employers with UNDER 500 employees to provide PAID sick leave.


PAID SICK LEAVE

Starting April 1st, 2020 all employers with less than 500 employees will be required to provide Paid Sick Leave (PSL) to their employees. This benefit is for ALL employees. Whether you hired someone yesterday, or they've been on your payroll for decades, or whether someone works full-time or part-time, they could be eligible for Paid Sick Leave. Below we've broken down the who, what, why, how, and when.


Who has to provide Paid Sick Leave?

  • All employers will under 500 employees.*

*There may be an exemption for organizations with under 50 employees. More on that below.


When do you have to start providing Paid Sick Leave?

  • April 1, 2020.


Who's eligible for Paid Sick Leave?

  • ALL Employees, regardless of how long they've worked for you.

  • Full-time and Part-time employees are covered, though their benefits are different (see below).


What can employees use Paid Sick Leave for?

  1. Self-quarantine or isolation orders issued by a Federal, State or Local Agency.

  2. Quarantine suggested by a health care provider.

  3. An employee who is seeking a medical diagnosis.

  4. Caring for an individual that is in categories 1 -3.

  5. Caring for a son or daughter who's school has closed or childcare provider is closed or unavailable due to COVID-19.

  6. Any other substantially similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services in consultation with Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of Labor.


How much time do employees get for Paid Sick Leave?

  • Full-time employees receive 80 hours of PSL.

  • Part-time employees receive their average hours for a 2-week period.


How much do you have to pay employees during Paid Sick Leave?

This is where things get a little tricky. - depending on what the employee is using their PSL for, it will affect the amount you pay them for their leave.


Employees should be paid their regular rate of pay UP TO the pay limits of $511 per day or $5,110 for the total duration of leave for PSL that is related to:


1. Self-quarantine or isolation orders issued by a Federal, State or Local Agency.

2. Quarantine suggested by a health care provider.

3. An employee who is seeking a medical diagnosis.


Employees should be paid two-thirds their regular rate of pay UP TO the pay limits of $200 per day or $2,000 for the total duration of the leave for PSL that is related to:


4. Caring for an individual that is in categories 1 -3.

5. Caring for a son or daughter who's school has closed or childcare provider is closed or unavailable due to COVID-19.

6. Any other substantially similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services in consultation with Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of Labor.


Do employers have to provide a notice to employees about Paid Sick Leave?

Yes. There is a requirement to post a Model Notice. The Model Notice will be coming from the Secretary of Labor on 03/25/2020.


What else do you need to know?

  • You can NOT require employees to find their own replacements when taking time off for Paid Sick Leave.

  • You can NOT require employees to use other paid time off benefits like vacation, PTO, sick or medical paid leaves that you offer.

  • If your employees work in a state that already requires paid sick leave benefits, the amount of paid time off you provide may vary.


Are companies with under 50 employees exempt from the Paid Sick Leave requirements?

Sort of. In a recent press release from the Department of Labor they had this to say about the exemption:


"Small businesses with fewer than 50 employees will be eligible for an exemption from the leave requirements relating to school closings or child care unavailability where the requirements would jeopardize the ability of the business to continue. The exemption will be available on the basis of simple and clear criteria that make it available in circumstances involving jeopardy to the viability of an employer’s business as a going concern. The Department of Labor will provide emergency guidance and rulemaking to clearly articulate this standard."


*New from the DOL on March 25th: "To elect this small business exemption, you should document why your business with fewer than 50 employees meets the criteria set forth by the Department, which will be addressed in more detail in forthcoming regulations. You should not send any materials to the Department of Labor when seeking a small business exemption for paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave."


What if we provided benefits before April 1st?

The FFCRA is not retroactive, meaning that any benefits provided before 04/01/2020 do not count towards the requirements.



While there may be some relief for small employers, the requirements to provide Paid Sick Leave begins on 04/01/2020 and will be something every employer should be ready to roll out.


We highly recommend reading through the DOL Q&A page which dives into some of the topics on this page into more detail and provides additional guidance. https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-questions


Employers with 1 - 500 employees have additional PAID leave requirements under the new Emergency Family and Medical Leave. https://www.simplyhrpartners.com/post/required-emergency-fmla-for-employers-with-under-500-employees

Tax credits are available to employers who are providing Paid Sick Leave and Emergency Family and Medical Leave. To learn more visit: https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus


As updates continue to happen on both a federal and state level, we're offering our community of organizations a FREE month of HR resources. To learn more visit: https://www.simplyhrpartners.com/hr-support-pricing


Everything we've created related to the COVID-19 and the FFCRA can be found here: https://www.simplyhrpartners.com/covid-19-resources



The content of this blog provides practical and HR best practice information and is not legal advice. simplyHR LLC does not provide legal advice or other professional services. While every effort is made to provide accurate and current information, laws change regularly and may vary depending on the state and/or the municipality your business operates in. The information provided from simplyHR is provided for informational purposes and is not a substitute for legal advice or your professional judgment. You should review applicable federal, state and municipality laws in your jurisdiction and consult with legal counsel as you deem necessary.

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