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More virus news: how the FFCRA affects nonprofits

By April 6, 2020June 2nd, 2020No Comments

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which helps employees stay afloat financially during this coronavirus nightmare, is now law. The act, which includes the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act and the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act, took effect on March 18 and will remain the law of the land until December 31.

Rest assured that employers covered under FFCRA qualify for dollar-for-dollar reimbursement through tax credits for all qualifying wages.

So, what does this emergency legislation mean for nonprofits? We’ve digested the act into bite-sized pieces.

Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (FMLA)

Expands paid leave up to 12 weeks for employees who miss work because they must care for children out of school and/or family members affected by COVID-19.

Who’s covered
Workers at companies with fewer than 500 employees. Companies with 50 or fewer employees can apply for an exemption if expanded benefits would severely impact their business.

What’s the expanded benefit
Thousands of employers who never had to pay for family and medical leave are now included in FMLA.

In the past, only employers with 50 or more workers had to provide paid FMLA coverage. Now, all employers with fewer than 500 employees must offer FMLA coverage to any employee who worked for at least 30 days prior to the leave. Those workers also qualify for another 10 weeks of paid family leave to care for a child whose school or daycare was shut down due to COVID-19.

What else you need to know
You must extend the expanded benefits at regular rates to:

  • Employees forced to isolate or quarantine by the government or their doctor.
  • Employees suffering from COVID-19– or virus-like– symptoms.

“Regular rates” equal the average of a worker’s regular rate over the six months before the day they take leave.

After the crisis is over, all companies with more than 25 employees will be required to return any worker who has taken Emergency FMLA to the same or equivalent job.

Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act

Gives workers paid sick leave if they must stay at home because the government ordered them to, or because they have, are suspected of having, or must care for someone who has COVID-19.

Who’s covered
Full-time workers at companies with fewer than 500 employees, so long as they don’t work for healthcare providers, first responders, or any other business that the Secretary of Labor wants to exclude.

What’s the expanded benefit
Full-time or part-time employees who aren’t sick can receive sick pay up to $511 per day, for a total of $5,110 over two weeks, if they can’t work because of COVID-19; $200 per day up to $2,000 total to take care of others affected by the virus.

What else you need to know
Employers covered under the act are entitled to a refundable tax credit equal to 100% of the qualified sick leave wages paid. The tax credits are applied against the employer portion of Social Security taxes.

Here’s one bit of good news. Employers will still be reimbursed if their costs for sick leave and family leave wages exceed owed taxes.

About the Author

Lisa Kaplan Gordon is a veteran content producer, e-book creator, and social media writer with two Pulitzer Prize nominations and three National Headliners Awards. Her writing has appeared in Washingtonian Magazine, Redbook, Yahoo!, AOL Real Estate, AOL Daily Finance, USA Today, and US Weekly, as well as major metro dailies. She writes several times a month for


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