March 18, 2020

Paid Leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (Act) contains provisions that will expand FMLA coverage to provide paid leave. Certain provisions will help small employers cope with the requirements of the Act.

Expanded Coverage

The expanded FMLA will cover all employers with less than 500 employees. Employees having under 50 employees are no longer exempt but are not subject to private causes of action for non-compliance.

Paid Leave

An employee can use accrued paid leave to cover the first ten days until the FMLA coverage applies. After the first ten days, employers must pay two-thirds of an employee’s regular pay to a maximum of $200 per day / total of $10,000. The act continues to provide twelve weeks leave in a twelve-month period.

Expanded Scope of Qualified Leave

Under the Act, a “qualifying need” will include the need to care for a child due to public health related school closures or absence of available child-care.

Tax Credit

Employers receive an employment tax credit for paid leave coverage, up to the maximum available coverage for individual employees.

Modified Job Protection

The expanded FMLA under the Act continues to provide employees the right to return to employment but contains an exception for employers having under 25 employees. A small employer is not required to provide employment if the position no longer exists due to changed economic circumstances caused by a public health emergency and the employer makes reasonable efforts to find an equivalent position. The employer also must make reasonable efforts to place the employee in an equivalent position for one year following the end of the FMLA provided leave period or when the employee no longer has a qualifying need, if earlier.

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act was signed into law March 18, 2020.

An employer having questions about the above or other changes made by the Act should contact a Kerr Russell attorney and visit the Kerr Russell COVID-19 Resource Center for further updates.

Liam K. HealyLiam K. Healy of Kerr Russell practice clients maintain compliance with state and federal tax laws that govern individuals and businesses focuses his practice on helping clients maintain compliance with the myriad of state and federal tax laws and regulations that govern individuals and businesses. A particular focus of Liam’s practice is in the area of employee benefits and ERISA. Liam specializes in designing pension and executive compensation plans to benefit business owners and executives. His practice includes drafting and reviewing deferred compensation agreements, severance agreements and non-compete agreements, representing employers in multi-employer plan collection and withdrawal liability matters.


Mark C. KnothImage of Mark C. Knoth, Employment and Labor attorney of Kerr Russell chairs the firm’s Labor, Employment, Employee Benefits & ERISA Practice Group. He counsels and advises business owners, managers and human resources professionals on workplace issues. These include civil rights and anti-discrimination laws; employee discipline; wage and hour; overtime; employee leaves; reasonable accommodations; veterans issues; picketing; secondary boycotts; reductions in force; drug testing; unemployment compensation; affirmative action; and union organizing campaigns, among other matters. He additionally drafts employee policies, handbooks, contracts, and covenants not to compete, and investigates threats of violence, allegations of harassment, and other employee misconduct.

Olivia Hankinson of Kerr Russell Olivia V. Hankinson counsels and advises business owners, managers and human resources professionals on various labor and employment related issues. These often involve concerns which may implicate employment laws including the Americans with Disabilities Act, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Michigan Persons with Disabilities Civil Rights Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, the National Labor Relations Act, and the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Act. Olivia represents employers with respect to unemployment insurance hearings, MIOSHA violation allegations, EEOC investigations, and other employment law matters. She also drafts employee handbooks, employment agreements, restrictive covenants, and various other employment policies.

Brandi Dobbs of Kerr Russell  Brandi M. Dobbs is an associate at Kerr Russell who supports the business and litigation needs of clients. She focuses on bankruptcy and restructuring. Brandi has successfully guided consumer debtors through Chapter 7 and assisted business debtors through the Chapter 11 process.



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