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Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)

Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)

Apr 7, 2020, 2 Minute Read

The paid leave provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) became effective April 1, 2020. With many California small businesses subject to the new law, business owners are turning to their advisors for support in assessing and implementing it.

The information below will provide you with a high-level understanding of the new law’s provisions, the concerns of small business owners, and the resources available.


The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) requires certain employers to provide their employees with paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. These provisions apply from April 1, 2020, through December 31, 2020.

The paid leave provisions apply to, among others, private employers with fewer than 500 employees.

Generally, covered employers must provide to employees who are unable to work due to qualified COVID-19 reasons:

  1. Emergency Paid Sick Leave: up to two weeks (or a part-time employee’s two-week equivalent) of paid sick leave, paid at rates of pay based on the reason for the leave (illness, quarantine or school closures).
  2. Emergency Paid Family and Medical Leave (EFMLA): up to twelve weeks of paid expanded family and medical leave to employees that are unable to work due to school closures.

The FFCRA provides employers refundable tax credits that reimburse them, dollar-for-dollar, for the cost of providing this leave.

Small Business Exemption: small businesses with fewer than 50 employees may qualify for an exemption to provide leave for the school closure reason if the leave requirements would jeopardize the viability of the business. The rules governing this exemption are quite specific.

Small Business Owner Concerns

While small business owners are trying to best accommodate the health and leave needs of their employees, many are concerned about the burden that the law’s provisions – especially the 12 weeks paid expanded family and medical leave – will place on the viability of their business. And for this reason, many owners of businesses with fewer than 50 employees are also showing strong interest in the “fewer than 50 employees” exemption.

Below are some resources that will help you help your small business clients navigate the FFCRA.


US Department of Labor (DOL) has published a COVID-19 resource page to provide employers with information on, among other issues, the paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave provisions of the FFCRA, including:

This helpful FFCRA flow chart (courtesy of Filice Insurance Agency) provides a visual step-by-step guide to assessing if an employer and employee are subject to the FFCRA provisions

Visit our COVID-19 Legislation & Regulations FAQs for answers to frequently asked FFCRA questions from brokers and their small business clients.

Claremont’s HR Partners Mammoth HR and HR Service, Inc. both provide resources to help small businesses with the FFCRA.

Contact the small group experts at 800.696.4543 or