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CARES Act Summary of Employment Law Provisions

March 27, 2020

Impact on Employment Law

The CARES Act modifies the recently passed Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (“EFMLEA”) and the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (“EMPLA”), which are part of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFMRA”), and become effective on April 1, 2020.

EFMLEA Changes

Specifically, the CARES Act amends the EFMLEA to clarify that a “Limitation” is placed on FMLA public health emergency leave such that an employer shall not be required to pay more than $200 per day and $10,000 in the aggregate for each employee for paid leave pursuant to the EFMLEA. The CARES Act also amends the EFMLEA to allow employees who had been laid off in March 2020, but are subsequently rehired, to fall within the definition of “eligible employee” for EFMLEA purposes.

EMPLA Changes

The CARES Act amends the EMPLA to clarify the limitations placed on Paid Sick Time as defined by the EMPLA. Under the revision, an eligible employer shall not be required to pay more than $511 per day and $5,110 in the aggregate for each employee, when the employee is taking leave related to the first three reasons for leave or $200 per day and $2,000 in the aggregate for each employee when the employee is taking leave related to reasons 4, 5 and 6.  
  
Expanded Unemployment Benefits

The CARES Act greatly expands an individual’s eligibility to apply for unemployment compensation. An individual, including those who are self-employed, seeking part-time work, or do not have sufficient work history, may be eligible to apply for unemployment if that individual is not eligible for regular compensation or extended benefits under state and federal law or pandemic emergency unemployment compensation and is unable to work because of the following conditions:

 

  • The individual has been diagnosed with or is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19;
  • A member of the individual’s household has been diagnosed with COVID-19;
  • The individual is providing care for a family member or a member of the individual’s household who has been diagnosed with COVID-19;
  • A child or other person in the household for which the individual has primary caregiving responsibility is unable to attend school or another facility that is closed as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency;
  • The individual is unable to reach the place of employment because a quarantine imposed as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency;
  • The individual is unable to reach the place of employment because the individual has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine;
  • The individual was scheduled to commence employment and does not have a job or is unable to reach the job as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency;
  • The individual has become the breadwinner or major support for a household because of the head of the household has died as a result of COVID-19;
  • The individual has to quit his or her job as a direct result of COVID-19;
  • The individual’s place of employment is closed as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency;

Eligible individuals may receive aid for up to 39 weeks, and the amount an individual receives under their state’s unemployment compensation scheme will be increased by an additional $600 a week under the CARES Act. Additionally, the CARES Act waives states’ mandatory waiting period, allowing individuals to collect unemployment benefits more quickly.

Finally, the CARES Act allows for air carriers engaged in air travel to enter into an agreement with the Secretary of Treasury to provide financial assistance that will exclusively be used for the continuation of payment of employee wages, salaries, and benefits to passenger air carriers in the aggregate amount of $25,000,000,000; cargo air carriers in the aggregate amount of $4,000,000,000; and contractors engaged with a passenger air carrier in the aggregate amount of $3,000,000,000. The CARES Act’s stated concern regarding these provisions is to preserve aviation jobs and compensate air carrier industry workers at a time when air travel is curtailed. 

Please contact your Hall Estill labor and employment law attorney for further details on the latest changes and to prepare for next week’s effective date for the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act and the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act     

Please also check the following links for more information related employer tax credits and payroll protection loans pursuant to the CARES Act.