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FAQ’s: FFCRA During COVID-19

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FAQ’s

Understanding FFCRA

What is FFCRA – Families First Coronavirus Response Act?

In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, the “Families First Coronavirus Response Act” (FFCRA) was signed into law. This law expands the use of Family Medical Leave under:

  • Emergency Family Medical Expansion Act (EFMLEA – referred to as EFML by UMBC), and introduces the
  • Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA – referred to as EPSL in this document).

Effective April 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020, eligible UMBC employees may use Emergency Family and Medical Leave and/or Emergency Paid Sick Leave according to the established policies, procedures, and FFCRA provisions. See this chart for a summary of the FFCRA leave plans.

Can I be eligible for both Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) and Emergency Family and Medical Leave (EFML) to care for a child whose school or place of care is closed, or childcare provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19 related reasons?

An eligible employee is required to use EPSL (if available) and EFML to care for a child whose school or place of care is closed, or child care provider is unavailable due to COVID-19 related reasons. EPSL and EFML will run concurrently. Use of EPSL counts toward FMLA usage.

If I am unable to remote work/telework, am I entitled to Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) or Emergency Family and Medical Leave (EFML)?

If remote work/teleworking is permitted but the employee is unable to perform tasks or work the required hours because of one of the qualifying reasons for EPSL or EFML, the employee is entitled to the leave established under these provisions. If the employee is able to remote work/telework, EPSL and EFML will not be approved and the employee must request to use available leave.

Can I take Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) or Emergency Family and Medical Leave (EFML) intermittently while remote working/teleworking?

Yes. UMBC encourages supervisors to provide flexibility to their employees to allow for use of intermittent leave.

If I am required to report to work on site, can I take Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) or Emergency Family and Medical Leave (EFML) intermittently?

UMBC encourages supervisors to provide flexibility to their employees to allow for use of intermittent leave when the employee is taking EPSL and EFML if the leave is to care for a child whose school or place of care is closed, or whose child care provider is unavailable because of COVID-19 related reasons.

For example, if an employee’s child is home, a supervisor can agree to allow the employee to take leave on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, but return to the normal worksite or remote work/telework on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Intermittent leave schedules must be discussed with the supervisor. An FFCRA Emergency Leave Request Form, with the necessary supporting documentation if applicable, must be submitted to Human Resources for review, acknowledgement and guidance of next steps.

Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL)

What is Emergency Paid Sick Leave “EPSL”?

Emergency Paid Sick Leave “EPSL” refers to the new emergency paid sick leave benefits established by H.R. 6201 FFCRA.

Who is eligible for Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL)?

All UMBC employees are eligible immediately for EPSL. Eligibility hours will be based on hours worked during the prior two weeks.

If I accrue sick leave through my existing leave benefits, how is Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) different?

Sick leave is accrued and carries over from year to year, has no expiration date and, when used, is paid at the employee’s regular rate of pay. EPSL is not accrued leave and is granted only in specific circumstances as it relates to a public health emergency. EPSL must be approved by Human Resources, must be used by December 31, 2020, and the rate of pay varies depending on the qualifying reason.

What are the qualifying reasons for which I can use Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL)?

An employee is eligible for EPSL if unable to work, including remote work/telework, due to the following qualifying reasons listed below.

  1. The employee is subject to a federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19.
  2. The employee has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19.
  3. The employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and is seeking a medical diagnosis.
  4. The employee is caring for an individual subject to an order described in (1) or has been advised as described in (2).
  5. The employee is caring for a son or daughter whose school or place of care is closed, or child care provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19 precautions.
  6. The employee is experiencing substantially similar conditions as specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the Secretaries of Labor and Treasury.
How do I know if I can receive Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) for a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19?

For purposes of the FFCRA, a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order includes quarantine or isolation orders, as well as shelter-in-place or stay-at-home orders, issued by any federal, state, or local government authority that causes an employee to be unable to work, including remote work/telework, even though work could be performed absent of the order.

For example, if an employee is on remote work/telework, but circumstances prevent the employee from working (such as a power outage), an employee may be eligible for EPSL.  If an employee is not available to work outside of this provision, an employee must use available accrued leave, if available.

Who is a “health care provider”?

The term “health care provider,” as used to determine individuals whose advice to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19 can be relied on as a qualifying reason for EPSL, means a licensed doctor of medicine, nurse practitioner, or other health care provider permitted to issue a certification for purposes of the FML.

When am I eligible for Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) to self-quarantine?

An employee is eligible for EPSL if a health care provider directs or advises the employee to stay home or otherwise quarantine due to COVID-19 precautions, and quarantining based upon that advice prevents the employee from working.

If I have received a laboratory-confirmed positive for COVID-19, do I qualify for Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL)?

Under this scenario, an employee would qualify for EPSL under the qualifying reason that the employee has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to COVID-19 symptoms.

If I have tested positive with COVID-19 but I am eligible and able to remote work, am I required to take Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL)?

No. If an employee has tested positive but the symptoms are not severe enough to prevent the employee from working remotely, and the employee is eligible to telework/remote work, then an employee is not required to use EPSL.

When am I eligible for Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) to care for someone who is subject to a quarantine or isolation order?

An employee can take EPSL to care for an eligible individual who, as a result of being subject to quarantine or isolation order, is unable to provide self-care, and depends on the employee for care.

An eligible individual includes an immediate family member, roommate, or similar person with whom the employee has a relationship that creates the expectation that the employee would care for the person if they self-quarantined or were quarantined. The employee cannot take EPSL to care for someone with whom they have no relationship or to care for someone who does not expect or depend on their care during quarantine.

How much Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) is provided if I meet one of the qualifying reasons?

Full-time employees are eligible for up to 80 hours (10 days) of EPSL. Part-time employees are eligible for the number of hours that the employee has worked in the prior two week period.

How much pay am I eligible for while taking Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL)?

It depends on why the employee is taking leave. An employee may take EPSL because they are unable to work, including remote work/telework, as a result of:

  • being subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19; or
  • having been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID19; or
  • experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and are seeking medical diagnosis.

The employee will receive 100% pay up to a $511 maximum daily rate. If an employee makes over this rate, an employee can use accrued leave (if applicable) to supplement full pay.

An employee may take EPSL because an employee is unable to work, including remote work/telework, as a result of:

  1. caring for an eligible individual who is subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19 or an individual who has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID19;
  2. caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed, or child care provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19 related reasons; or
  3. experiencing any other substantially similar condition that may arise, as specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services.

An employee will receive two-thirds of regular pay, up to a $200 maximum daily rate. A leave-eligible employee can supplement the difference in pay with accrued leave.

Can I take 80 hours of Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) for self-quarantine, and then another amount of EPSL for another qualifying reason?

No. While, EPSL can be used for any combination of qualifying reasons, a maximum of 80 hours/10 days can be used (part-time employees are eligible for prorated hours).

Will I be required to use my accrued leave provided by UMBC prior to using Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL)?

No. An employee who qualifies for EPSL is not required to use their accrued leave prior to using EPSL.

Can I take Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) to care for a child other than my child?

An employee can use EPSL if the employee cannot work because the employee is providing care for the child who is subject to federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation orders related to COVID-19, or has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to COVID-19.

How much notice do I need to give to use Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL)?

An employee must provide the supervisor and Human Resources notice as soon as practicable. Employees must complete and submit the FFCRA Emergency Leave Request Form.

What documentation is required to request EPSL?

Employees must complete and submit the FFCRA Emergency Leave Request Form.

Emergency Family and Medical Leave (EFML)

What is Emergency Family and Medical Leave “EFML”?

“EFML” refers to the new qualifying need and benefits provided under EFML as established by H.R. 6201 FFCRA. The details of expanded EFML are provided in the responses below.

Am I eligible for the benefits established by Emergency Family and Medical Leave (EFML)?

Employees who have been employed for 30 calendar days immediately prior to the day leave would begin are eligible for the benefits established under the expanded FMLA. For example, if an employee wants to take leave on April 1, 2020, the employee would need to have been employed by UMBC as of March 2, 2020. Please note, the provisions under EFML do not change eligibility requirements or rules under regular FML.

What reason(s) can Emergency Family and Medical Leave (EFML) be used?

EFML be used if an employee is unable to work, including remote work/telework, due to the need to care for a son or daughter under 18 if the child’s school or place of care has been closed, or child care provider is unavailable, due to a public health emergency.

What is “place of care”?

A “place of care” is a physical location in which care is provided for your child. The physical location does not have to be solely dedicated to such care. Examples include day care facilities, preschools, before and after school care programs, schools, homes, summer camps, summer enrichment programs, and respite care programs.

What is a “child care provider”?

A “child care provider” is someone who cares for your child. This includes individuals paid to provide child care, like nannies, au pairs, and babysitters. It also includes individuals who provide child care at no cost and without a license on a regular basis, such as grandparents, aunts, uncles, or neighbors

Can more than one guardian take Emergency Family and Medical Leave (EFML) simultaneously?

Only one guardian can take continuous EFML or EPSL to care for a child. If intermittent EFML is requested, multiple guardians may be eligible for these leave benefits. An employee cannot use the leave benefit if the employee will have available childcare during the same time period.

Is Emergency Family and Medical Leave (EFML) an additional 12 weeks of Family Medical Leave (FML)?

No. EFML runs concurrently with FML. FML is a maximum of twelve (12) weeks in a rolling 12 month period.

For example, if an employee took 2 weeks of FML in November 2019 to undergo and recover from a surgical procedure, the employee has ten (10) weeks of FML remaining, and therefore has ten (10) weeks available under EFMLA. If an employee has not used any FML leave during the 12-month period, the employee is eligible for twelve (12) weeks under expanded FML.

How much paid leave am I eligible for under Emergency Family and Medical Leave (EFML)?

Leave Eligible Employees: The first ten (10) days an employee takes leave under EFML is unpaid. However, during the first ten (10) days an employee is allowed (but not required) to use available accrued paid leave (including annual, personal, and compensatory). Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) can also be used during this time (both leaves will run concurrently). For the remaining 10 weeks of leave (weeks 3-12), an employee is required to use accrued leave concurrently with expanded FMLA. Once an employee exhausts available accrued leave, advanced leave and then other leave options are available. An employee will be paid two-thirds of their regular pay in accordance with EFML.

Non-Leave Eligible Employees: The first ten (10) days for which an employee takes leave under EFML are unpaid. An employee may use Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) during this time. EPSL is calculated at two-thirds pay based on eligible hours. For the remaining ten (10) weeks of leave (weeks 3-12), an employee will receive two-thirds EFML pay.

Can I use Emergency Family and Medical Leave (EFML) beyond December 31, 2020?

No. The expiration for EFML is December 31, 2020.

How much notice do I need to give to use Emergency Family and Medical Leave (EFML)?

Employees must provide:

What documentation is required to request Emergency Family and Medical Leave (EFML)?

Employees must complete and submit the FFCRA Emergency Leave Request Form.