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The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act was signed into law on Wednesday, March 18, 2020.  It is the second major legislative initiative passed in the United States in response to COVID-19.

opens in a new windowFamilies First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) took effect on April 1, 2020, and provides eligible workers with paid leave for reasons related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Covered employers should post notice of the FFCRA requirements in a conspicuous place on its premises. A copy of the notification is linked below, along with a link to the U.S. Department of Labor website, which provides additional guidance on paid leave requirements related to COVID-19.

opens in a new windowDOL FFCRA Posteropens PDF file

opens in a new windowDOL FFCRA Fact Sheet

We have also provided an FFCRA Compliance Bulletin, which includes frequently asked questions issued by the DOL to assist employers and employees on their responsibilities and rights under the FFCRA, as well as a resource on the U.S. Chamber website that outlines what businesses need to know.

opens in a new windowCrane Agency – Families First Coronavirus Response Act Q&Aopens PDF file

opens in a new windowU.S. Chamber – FFCRA:  What Businesses Need to Know

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act includes two new significant paid leave laws:  (1) the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act, and (2) the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act.  Both statutes address absences from work caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.  Both provisions are effective April 1, 2020, through December 31, 2020.

Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLEA)
This act creates a new form of FMLA leave covering up to 12 weeks of an eligible employee’s inability to work or telework “due to a need for leave to care for the son or daughter under 18 years of age of such employee if the school or place of care has closed, or the child care provider of such son or daughter is unavailable, due to a public health emergency.”

Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA)
Employees covered under the EPSLA are entitled to paid leave for several different types of absences related to the COVID-19 pandemic:
– Employees subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19
– Employees who have been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine related to COVID-19
– Employees experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and are seeking a medical diagnosis
– Employees caring for an individual subject to an order described in (1) or self-quarantine as described in (2)
– An Employee caring for his or her child whose school or place of care is closed (or child care provider is unavailable) due to COVID-19 related reasons
– Employees experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Due to the speed at which these laws took effect, the U.S Department of Labor has created a Q&A page to address questions and provide additional guidance:   opens in a new windowU.S. Department of Labor – Families First Coronavirus Response Act Q&A

Please visit the opens in a new windowCrane Agency Coronavirus Preparedness Resource page for further information.  As with any rapidly changing situation, please check local, state, and federal websites for the most recent updates and guidance on this quickly evolving topic.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act)

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) was signed into law on Friday, March 27, 2020, and is the most massive economic relief bill in U.S. History.  It will allocate $2.2 trillion in health care relief and emergency assistance for individuals, families, and businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic crisis.

opens in a new windowCoronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act)

The CARES Act was designed to distribute capital quickly and broadly.  The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) prioritizes millions of Americans employed by small businesses by authorizing up to $349 billion toward job retention and certain other expenses.  Small businesses and eligible nonprofit organizations, Veterans organizations, and Tribal businesses described in the Small Business Act, as well as individuals who are self-employed or are independent contractors, are eligible if they also meet program size standards. opens in a new window(1)

Below you will find links to additional information, along with a few attachments, that may help covered businesses access the other resources available through the recently passed stimulus package:

Guidance from the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship

Guidance from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Guidance from the US Department of Treasury

The CARES Act also provides support for opens in a new windowpublic transportationopens WORD file .  To find out more information, please visit the opens in a new windowFederal Transit Administration COVID-19opens WORD file landing page.

Individuals & Families

For individuals and families, $250 billion has been allocated for direct payments in the form of recovery rebates to help soften the economic challenges many are currently facing.  Recovery rebates are refundable tax credits that will be applied to 2020 tax returns but will be advanced to taxpayers now based on their 2019 or 2018 adjusted income.

How much of a rebate will I receive?

Individuals with a Social Security Number (SSN) and who are not dependents may receive $1,200 (single filers and heads of household) or $2,400 (joint filers), with an additional rebate of $500 per qualifying child, if they have adjusted gross income (AGI) under $75,000 (single), $150,000 (joint), or $112,500 (heads of household) using 2019 tax return information. (The IRS will use 2018 tax return information if the taxpayer has not yet filed for 2019.) The rebate phases out at $50 for every $1,000 of income earned above those thresholds. opens in a new window(2)

CARES Act Rebate chart

How do I get my rebate?

For most Americans, no action is required. The IRS will use data from the most current tax returns or Social Security data to provide a rebate to Americans either via direct deposit (if such information is available) or through a paper check in the mail to the last address on file.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he hopes to distribute rebates to taxpayers who e-filed with direct deposit banking information in three weeks. Taxpayers receiving rebate checks may have to wait six to eight weeks to receive a paper check in the mail.

Treasury will be developing a web-based portal for individuals to provide their banking information to the IRS online. Taxpayers will be able to receive payments immediately as opposed to checks in the mail. opens in a new window(3)

Additional information regarding Rebate Relief, Social Security, Payroll Tax Changes, and Unemployment concerning the CARES Act can be found here:

opens in a new windowTax Foundation – FAQ on Federal Cornovirus Relief Bill (CARES Act).

Provisions of the CARES Act also address healthcare needs, expand individual access to retirement accounts, support education, and provide state and local governments with additional funds to help mitigate the on-going COVID-19 crisis.

2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) FAQ

opens in a new window03.24.2020 – Please see our updated FAQ for additional guidance, as it pertains to COVID-19.

As concerns about COVID-19 continue to rise, many are left wondering what they can do to protect their families, businesses and their workforce.  In order to help our clients plan and prepare, Crane Agency has created a opens in a new windowFAQ opens PDF file document to help explain how some commercial insurance policies may respond.

The CDC has also provided interim guidance for opens in a new windowBusinesses and opens in a new windowFamilies on their website.  Recommended strategies for employers to use now:

Actively encourage sick employees to stay home

  • Employees who have symptoms of acute respiratory illness are recommended to stay home and not come to work until they are free of fever (100.4° F [37.8° C] or greater using an oral thermometer), signs of a fever, and any other symptoms for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing or other symptom-altering medicines (e.g. cough suppressants). Employees should notify their supervisor and stay home if they are sick.
  • Ensure that your sick leave policies are flexible and consistent with public health guidance and that employees are aware of these policies.
  • Talk with companies that provide your business with contract or temporary employees about the importance of sick employees staying home and encourage them to develop non-punitive leave policies.
  • Do not require a healthcare provider’s note for employees who are sick with acute respiratory illness to validate their illness or to return to work, as healthcare provider offices and medical facilities may be extremely busy and not able to provide such documentation in a timely way.
  • Employers should maintain flexible policies that permit employees to stay home to care for a sick family member. Employers should be aware that more employees may need to stay at home to care for sick children or other sick family members than is usual.

Separate sick employees

  • CDC recommends that employees who appear to have acute respiratory illness symptoms (i.e. cough, shortness of breath) upon arrival to work or become sick during the day should be separated from other employees and be sent home immediately. Sick employees should cover their noses and mouths with a tissue when coughing or sneezing (or an elbow or shoulder if no tissue is available).

Emphasize staying home when sick, respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene by all employees

  • Place opens in a new windowposters that encourage staying home when sick, cough and sneeze etiquette, and hand hygiene at the entrance to your workplace and in other workplace areas where they are likely to be seen.
  • Provide tissues and no-touch disposal receptacles for use by employees.
  • Instruct employees to clean their hands often with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60-95% alcohol, or wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Soap and water should be used preferentially if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Provide soap and water and alcohol-based hand rubs in the workplace. Ensure that adequate supplies are maintained. Place hand rubs in multiple locations or in conference rooms to encourage hand hygiene.
  • Visit the  opens in a new windowcoughing and sneezing etiquette and  opens in a new windowclean hands web page for more information.

Perform routine environmental cleaning

  • Routinely clean all frequently touched surfaces in the workplace, such as workstations, counter tops, and doorknobs. Use the cleaning agents that are usually used in these areas and follow the directions on the label.
  • No additional disinfection beyond routine cleaning is recommended at this time.
  • Provide disposable wipes so that commonly used surfaces (for example, doorknobs, keyboards, remote controls, desks) can be wiped down by employees before each use.

Advise employees before traveling to take certain steps

  • Check the opens in a new windowCDC’s Traveler’s Health Notices for the latest guidance and recommendations for each country to which you will travel. Specific travel information for travelers going to and returning from China, and information for aircrew, can be found at on the CDC website.
  • Advise employees to check themselves for symptoms of  opens in a new windowacute respiratory illness before starting travel and notify their supervisor and stay home if they are sick.
  • Ensure employees who become sick while traveling or on temporary assignment understand that they should notify their supervisor and should promptly call a healthcare provider for advice if needed.
  • If outside the United States, sick employees should follow your company’s policy for obtaining medical care or contact a healthcare provider or overseas medical assistance company to assist them with finding an appropriate healthcare provider in that country. A U.S. consular officer can help locate healthcare services. However, U.S. embassies, consulates, and military facilities do not have the legal authority, capability, and resources to evacuate or give medicines, vaccines, or medical care to private U.S. citizens overseas.

Additional Measures in Response to Currently Occurring Sporadic Importations of the COVID-19

  • Employees who are well but who have a sick family member at home with COVID-19 should notify their supervisor and refer to CDC guidance for opens in a new windowhow to conduct a risk assessment of their potential exposure.
  • If an employee is confirmed to have COVID-19, employers should inform fellow employees of their possible exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace but maintain confidentiality as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Employees exposed to a co-worker with confirmed COVID-19 should refer to CDC guidance for  opens in a new windowhow to conduct a risk assessment of their potential exposure.  Please visit the CDC website for more information.

Other helpful resources include:

opens in a new windowHR Insights – Coronavirusopens PDF file

opens in a new windowRisk Insights – Protecting Workers from Coronavirusopens PDF file

opens in a new windowOSHA Safety Cornerstones Q1 2020opens PDF file

opens in a new windowLive Well, Work Well – Coronavirusopens PDF file

Helpful Websites:

opens in a new windowNational Institutes of Health – COVID-19 Landing Page

opens in a new windowNational Retail Federation – Coronavirus Resources for Retailers

opens in a new windowOSHA COVID-19 Website Landing Page

opens in a new windowUS Department of Education COVID-19 Landing Page

opens in a new windowUS Food & Drug Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Landing Page

opens in a new windowWorld Health Organization Website

We will continue to monitor current events, but as with any developing situation, please consult local and governmental health agencies for the newest developments.