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HEROES Act would expand FFCRA leave

If passed, the HEROES Act would mean more employers would be covered by the FFCRA, more reasons would qualify, and the leave would not count as FMLA leave.

Posted May 14, 2020

The rollercoaster ride of employee leave may not be over. On May 12, 2020, the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act was introduced in Congress, and among its many provisions are changes to the employee leave provisions of the Families Firs Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The FFCRA currently provides for 80 hours of paid sick leave to all employees for certain reasons, and an additional 10 weeks of expanded family and medical leave for childcare issues to employees who have worked for a company for at least 30 days.

Highlights of the leave provisions in the HEROES Act include the following:

  • Extending the paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave provisions to private-sector employers, regardless of size. The FFCRA currently applies to private employers with fewer than 500 employees.
  • Not allowing the expanded family and medical leave to count against employees’ 12 weeks of leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Currently, such leave may be counted as FMLA leave.
  • Prohibiting employers from requiring that employees take paid emergency family and medical leave concurrent with other paid leave they have available; that would be up to the employee. Currently, employers may require the use of other paid leave.
  • jeopardize the employee’s health, that of other employees, or the health of an individual in the employee’s household because of possible exposure or having symptoms.
  • Eliminating the exemption regarding healthcare and emergency responder employees.
  • Eliminating the small employer exemption.
  • Eliminating the need for employers to agree to allow employees to take the leave on an intermittent basis.
  • Expanding the definition of family members to include more, such as domestic partners.
  • Extending the FFCRA provisions from 12/31/20 to 21/31/21.

These are just some of the highlights. Note that this bill has just been introduced and must proceed through the legislation process where it will likely be changed in some respects, and may not make it through to being signed into law. Stay tuned!

This article was written by Darlene Clabault of J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc.

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