COVID-19 In The New York Workplace – Part II: FFFCRA Workplace Rights

Please note that the information contained in this post is for informational purposes and is not to be considered legal advice. This blog post does not create or imply an attorney-client relationship.  If you would like to discuss your particular circumstances with us, please set up a consultation by contacting the Satter Ruhlen Law Firm at 315-471-0405 or through our website (https://www.satterlaw.com/contact-us/).  We look forward to walking you through your workplace rights.

This is the second in a series on New York’s COVID-19 response in the workplace.  Each day we’ll post about a different aspect of what employees can expect from new federal and state legislation passed in response to the pandemic. 

Today we’ll talk about your workplace rights under the Federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act [“FFFCRA”], which goes into effect on April 1, 2020.

FFFCRA provides job security and sick leave protection for workers eligible for leave.  Moreover, there are income protections for employers to help employers cover the costs of paid leave for eligible employees. 

To recap Part I, whether and how much paid leave an employee can receive depends on the size of the employer and who is in quarantine (viz., the employee or a member of the employee’s household).  Please see Part I of this series for a detailed discussion of eligibility requirements). 

Job Security:  If your workplace employs 25 or more employees and you take FFFCRA leave, you must be returned to the same or an equivalent position when you return from leave.  If your workplace employs fewer than 25 employees, the employer must take reasonable steps to return you to the same or equivalent position, but if the position no longer exists, there is no requirement to return you to work. 

Sick Leave:  Employers are not allowed to count FFFCRA leave against an employee’s accrued paid leave.  This means that if you have sick leave, PTO, vacation, or other paid time accruals, the employer may not force you to use those accruals before you use FFFCRA or count your FFFCRA leave against those accruals.  However, you may voluntarily decide to use your accruals to cover the 10-day waiting period before you start receiving benefits. 

Notice Posting:  The U.S. Department of Labor will soon release notice postings (similar to posters you may have already seen your breakroom) detailing employees’ rights under the FFFCRA.  These posters must be put up in conspicuous places in the workplace. 

Employers Will Get Assistance To Pay For FFFCRA Leave:  Employers are being reimbursed for 100% of any paid leave taken under the FFFCRA by eligible employees.  Employers will have no payroll tax liability, and will receive an immediate dollar-for-dollar tax offset against payroll taxes on any eligible FFFCRA leave.  Additionally, Employers are entitled to request expedited refunds on any payroll tax credit from the IRS. 

NEXT UP:  Join us tomorrow for Part III, which will discuss the New York State Paid Leave Act.

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