Families First Coronavirus Response Act

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The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) was recently passed and signed into law. This new legislation offers emergency paid sick leave and an expansion of Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) coverage for eligible employees effective April 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020. This website provides important definitions, an overview of eligibility, process information, tools and guidelines, and frequently asked questions.

Please Note: FFCRA is a federal law and does not replace the University System of Georgia (USG) Non-Closure Emergency LeaveEmployees who have not yet been asked to return to on-campus work, may continue to use Non-Closure Emergency Leave until July 16, 2020

FFCRA Qualifying Reasons

The employee is, in connection with COVID-19: 

  1. Subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order (see below for CDC’s definition); 
  2. Advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine; 
  3. Experiencing symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis; 
  4. Caring for an individual who is subject to (1) or (2); 
  5. Caring for a child whose school or childcare provider is closed or unavailable; OR 
  6. Experiencing any similar condition specified by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 

As defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), isolation and quarantine help protect the public by preventing exposure to people who have or may have a contagious disease. 

  • Isolation separates sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick. 
  • Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick. 

Note: A local shelter-in-place ordinance is not considered either isolation or a quarantine.  
   

What this means for Georgia Tech Employees

For each leave option under FFCRA, below you will find the eligibility and pay mapped to each qualifying reason listed above:

Emergency Paid Sick Leave

In connection with COVID-19, this entitles any current employee, regardless of their length of service, to emergency paid sick leave. 

Full-time employees who meet at least one of the criteria may take up to 80 hours of paid leave. Part-time employees may take paid leave for up to their regularly scheduled hours or FTE equivalent. 

  • Qualifying Reason 1, 2, or 3 (Related to self-care) - Compensation for employees who fall under self-coverage is capped at $511 per day and an aggregate total of $5,110. 

  • Qualifying Reason 4, 5, or 6 (Related to care for others) - Compensation for employees who fall under this coverage will be at two-thirds (2/3) of their regular pay rate but capped at $200 per day and an aggregate total of $2,000.

Expanded Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

FMLA coverage for employees with at least 30 days of service who are caring for a child under 18 years of age whose school or childcare provider is closed or unavailable due to the COVID-19 public health emergency. 

  • The first two weeks of leave under this provision are unpaid, but employees may use either accrued leave or Emergency Paid Sick Leave for the first two weeks. 

  • The remaining 10 weeks of FMLA must be paid – unlike other FMLA leave. That pay rate is at two-thirds (2/3) of their regular pay rate but capped at $200 per day and an aggregate total of $10,000. 

To review the various types of leave available to an employee based on different conditions and/or situations, refer to the Flexible Work Arrangements and Leave Options matrix.

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Employee is out due to… 

 

Work Schedule Options/Leave Options  

Options/leave are generally used in the order listed. 

  • Employee is subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19 
  • Employee has been advised by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine due to COVID-19 symptoms 
  • Employee needs to obtain a medical diagnosis or receive care related to COVID-19 symptoms 
  • Telework (if available) 
  • Families First - Emergency Paid Sick Leave 
  • Accrued leave 
  • FMLA (standard unpaid option may be available for qualifying event) 
  • Employee must care for an individual subject to an isolation or self-quarantine order as described above 
  • Employee is experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 

 

Employee is caring for a child whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19 

Voluntary quarantine (no symptoms, willing/able to work) 

 

Reduced operations (not enough work or no work available) 

 

Reduced operations (Federal Work Study) 

 

Employee’s own personal illness or injury, unrelated to COVID-19 (employee needs leave due to the unrelated illness or injury or was already on leave when new forms of leave were added) 

  • FMLA (standard unpaid option may be available for qualifying event) 
  • Compensatory time (if non-exempt and comp time exists) 
  • Accrued leave 

Employee’s own personal leave plans, unrelated to COVID-19 (employee is taking leave for an event unrelated to COVID-19; annual leave had already been planned and employee will continue with plans) 

 

  • FMLA (standard unpaid option may be available for qualifying event) 
  • Compensatory time (if non-exempt and comp time exists) 
  • Accrued leave 

How To Request Emergency Paid Sick Leave or Expanded Family Medical Leave

  1. Click here to access the Families First Coronavirus Response Act Leave Request form. 
  2. Fill out the form as instructed.  
  3. Save the completed form to your computer, then submit using one of the two methods listed below. If you need assistance with completing the form, please call Georgia Tech Human Resources (GTHR) Benefits at 404-385-2377​
    • Upload your form to our confidential DropBox by clicking HERE, or
    • fax your completed form to our confidential fax at 404-894-6978. ATTN: Benefits Department. 
  4. Notify your supervisor of your pending leave.  
  5. GTHR will submit the appropriate paid leave status in Absence Management and the employee’s time sheet will automatically be updated. 
  6. GTHR will update the employee’s supervisor so management may prepare for business continuity. 
  7. For employees not enrolled in Absence Management (such as GTRI), the appropriate time reporting code must be passed on the time file. 
  • 00EMH – Federal Emergency Leave (Hourly) 

  • 00EMM – Federal Emergency Leave (Salaried) 

 

Additional Support
Questions related to Federal Emergency Paid Sick Leave or the expanded FMLA coverage can be addressed by calling our Benefits Department at 404-385-2377 Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for assistance. 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. I am home with my child because their school or my childcare provider is closed or unavailable due to COVID-19 related reasons. Do I get paid sick leave, expanded family and medical leave, or both—how do they interact? 
  1. You may be eligible for both types of leave, but only for a total of 12 weeks of paid leave. In this instance, you may take both paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave to care for your child. The Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act provides for an initial two weeks of paid leave. This period covers the first 10 workdays of expanded family and medical leave, which are otherwise unpaid under the Emergency and Family Medical Leave Expansion Act unless you elect to use existing vacation, personal, or sick leave. 

 

2. Are the paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave requirements retroactive?

Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act and the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act are effective on April 1, 2020, and apply to leave taken between April 1, 2020, and December 31, 2020. You may not apply FFCRA for days prior to April 1, 2020. 

3. How do I know whether I have “been employed for at least 30 calendar days by the employer” for purposes of expanded family and medical leave?

Here is an example: if you want to take leave on April 1, 2020, you would need to have been on your employer’s payroll as of March 2, 2020.

4. What documents do I need to provide to receive paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave?

If requested, you must provide documentation in support of your paid sick leave as specified in applicable IRS forms, instructions, and information. Please also note that all existing certification requirements under the FMLA remain in effect if you are taking leave for one of the existing qualifying reasons under the FMLA. For example, if you are taking leave beyond the two weeks of emergency paid sick leave because your medical condition for COVID-19-related reasons rises to the level of a serious health condition, you must continue to provide medical certifications under the FMLA if required by your employer.

5. How am I paid when I am able to telework under the FFCRA?

Telework is work for which normal wages must be paid and is not compensated under the paid leave provisions of the FFCRA.

6. If I am or become unable to telework, am I entitled to paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave?

If you are unable to telework because you need to care for your child whose school or place of care is closed or unavailable due to COVID-19 related reasons, then you are entitled to take expanded family and medical leave. 

7. What does it mean to be unable to work, including telework for COVID-19 related reasons?  

You are unable to work if your manager has work for you and one of the COVID-19 qualifying reasons set forth in the FFCRA prevents you from being able to perform that work, either under normal circumstances at your normal worksite or by means of telework.  If you and your manager agree that you will work your normal number of hours, but outside of your normally scheduled hours (for instance early in the morning or late at night), then you are able to work and leave is not necessary unless a COVID-19 qualifying reason prevents you from working that schedule. 

8. If my manager reduces my scheduled work hours, can I use paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for the hours that I am no longer scheduled to work? 
  1. No. If your manager reduces your work hours because it does not have work for you to perform, you may not use paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for the hours that you are no longer scheduled to work. This is because you are not prevented from working those hours due to a COVID-19 qualifying reason, even if your reduction in hours was somehow related to COVID-19. 

     

  2. You may, however, take paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave if a COVID-19 qualifying reason prevents you from working your full schedule. If you do, the amount of leave to which you are entitled is computed based on your work schedule before it was reduced (see Question 5). 
     

  3. Employees will have the option to take non-closure paid leave if they are not essential employees of Georgia Tech and they do not have the ability to work remotely or a flexible schedule. This leave is available through May 2, 2020.

9. If I elect to take paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave, will Georgia Tech continue my health coverage? If I remain on leave beyond the maximum period of expanded family and medical leave, do I have a right to keep my health coverage? 

You are entitled to continued group health coverage during your expanded family and medical leave on the same terms as if you continued to work. If you are enrolled in family coverage, you will maintain coverage during your expanded family and medical leave. You generally must continue to make any normal contributions to the cost of your health coverage. If you are no longer eligible, you may be able to continue your coverage under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA). 

10. May I use my preexisting leave entitlements and my FFCRA paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave simultaneously for the same hours?
  1. No. You may not simultaneously take both. 

11. Do I qualify for leave for a COVID-19 related reason even if I have already used some or all of my leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)?

If you are an eligible employee, you are entitled to paid sick leave under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act regardless of how much leave you have taken under the FMLA. 

However, your eligibility for expanded family and medical leave depends on how much leave you have already taken during the 12-month period used for FMLA leave. You may take a total of 12 workweeks for FMLA or expanded family and medical leave reasons during a 12-month period. If you have taken some, but not all, 12 workweeks of your leave under FMLA during the current 12-month period you may take the remaining portion of leave available. If you have already taken 12 workweeks of FMLA leave during this 12-month period, you may not take additional expanded family and medical leave.

12. May I take leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act over the next 12 months if I used some or all of my expanded family and medical leave under the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act?

It depends. You may take a total of 12 workweeks of leave during a 12-month period under the FMLA, including the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act. If you take some, but not all 12 workweeks of your expanded family and medical leave by December 31, 2020, you may take the remaining portion of FMLA leave for a serious medical condition, as long as the total time taken does not exceed 12 workweeks in the 12-month period.

13. If I take paid sick leave under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act, does that count against my sick leave accrual?

No. Paid sick leave under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act is in addition to other leave provided.

 

14. May I use paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave together for any of the listed COVID-19 related reasons?  

No. The Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act applies only when you are on leave to care for your child whose school or place of care is closed, or whose childcare provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19 related reasons. However, you can take paid sick leave under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act for numerous other reasons.

15. What is a full-time employee under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act? 

For purposes of the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act, a full-time employee is an employee who is normally scheduled to work 40 or more hours per week.

16. What is a part-time employee under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act?

For purposes of the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act, a part-time employee is an employee who is normally scheduled to work fewer than 40 hours per week.

17. Who is a “health care provider” for purposes of determining individuals whose advice to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19 can be relied on as a qualifying reason for paid sick leave?

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 paid sick leave, means a licensed doctor of medicine, nurse practitioner, or other health care provider permitted to issue a certification for purposes of the FMLA.

18. Is all leave under the FMLA now paid leave? 

No. The only type of family and medical leave that is paid leave is expanded family and medical leave under the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act when such leave exceeds 10 days. This includes only leave taken because the employee must care for a child whose school or place of care is closed, or childcare provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19 related reasons.

19. May I collect unemployment insurance benefits for time in which I receive pay for paid sick leave and/or expanded family and medical leave?

No. If your employer provides you paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave, you are not eligible for unemployment insurance. However, each State has its own unique set of rules; and DOL recently clarified additional flexibility to the States to extend partial unemployment benefits to workers whose hours or pay have been reduced. Therefore, individuals should contact their State workforce agency or State unemployment insurance office for specific questions about eligibility.

General Information about the Unemployment Insurance Program:

To file a UI claim online:

To file a claim by telephone number:

  • 404-232-3180

Coronavirus update: Georgia is providing updates on Unemployment Insurance changes related to COVID-19 here:
https://dol.georgia.gov/gdol-covid-19-information

20. What is the difference between FFCRA and Non-Closure Pay?​

Non-Closure is the USG amendment that gave USG presidents the authority to compensate employees for hours not worked up to the equivalent of their regularly scheduled hours per week when there is not work for those employees to perform required for operations.

Non-Closure would be utilized for eligible employees who:

  • are not able to perform their regular duties through telework or other remote and flexible work arrangements, and
  • are not working as required employees in enabling the Institute to sustain essential on-campus services and operations.

The FFCRA is a federal law in response to COVID-19 specifically used for employees who are:

  1. Subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order (see below for CDC’s definition);
  2. Advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine;
  3. Experiencing symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis;
  4. Caring for an individual who is subject to (1) or (2);
  5. Caring for a child whose school or childcare provider is closed or unavailable; OR
  6. Experiencing any similar condition specified by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Here is an example when FFCRA would be utilized instead of Non-Closure Emergency Leave:

An employee is unable to come to work to perform required duties and is unable to telework/flexwork and is caring for a child under 18 who has been directed to quarantine by a healthcare practitioner. View the Flexible Work Arrangements & Leave Options Matrix for more information.

21. Who is a child under FFCRA?

Under the FFCRA, a child is your own child, which includes your biological, adopted, or foster child, your stepchild, a legal ward, or a child for whom you are standing in loco parentis—someone with day-to-day responsibilities to care for or financially support a child. 

The Department of Labor clarifies that under the FFCRA a child is also an adult child (i.e., one who is 18 years of age or older), who (1) has a mental or physical disability, and (2) is incapable of self-care because of that disability.
22. Are temporary, rehired retirees, or students eligible to receive Emergency Paid Sick Leave or Expanded Family Medical Leave Act?

It depends. If they are actively working and meet the qualifications, they can be considered for FFCRA. They still need to complete the enrollment process and once their manager is notified by GTHR of their eligibility and enrollment , their manager will be instructed to enter hours with the  appropriate time reporting code. Those that can still telework and flex work are encouraged to do so.

23. How are the part-time hours determined?

A part-time employee is entitled to leave for their average number of work hours in a two-week period. Therefore, you calculate hours of leave based on the number of hours the employee is normally scheduled to work. If the normal hours scheduled are unknown, or if the part-time employee’s schedule varies, you may use a six-month average to calculate the average daily hours. Such a part-time employee may take paid sick leave for this number of hours per day for up to a two-week period, and may take expanded family and medical leave for the same number of hours per day up to ten weeks after that if they are eligible.

24. Will I receive my regular rate of pay while receiving Emergency Paid Sick Leave or Expanded Family Medical Leave Act?

Not necessarily. Compensation for employees who fall under self-coverage for qualifying reasons 1, 2, or 3 is capped at up to $511 per day and an aggregate total of $5,110 and is prorated based on their normal hours in a work week. 

Compensation for employees who fall under the qualifying reasons 4, 5, or 6 (related to care for others) will be at two-thirds (2/3) of their regular pay rate but capped at up to $200 per day and an aggregate total of $2,000 and is also prorated based on their normal hours in a work week.  Please note that the first two weeks of leave under the Expanded Family Medical Leave Act are unpaid, but employees may use either accrued leave or Emergency Paid Sick Leave for the first two weeks.