The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”) was signed into law on March 18, 2020 and requires The University of Alabama to provide employees with emergency paid sick leave (EPSL) and expanded family and medical leave (EFML) for specified reasons related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Click here for a two-page comprehensive overview of the FFCRA leave benefits. To see FAQs on the following areas of the FFCRA see below:
1. How does the FFCRA help employees?
Congress passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) which (1) amends the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) to provide expanded paid family leave benefits, called Expanded Family and Medical Leave (“EFML); and (2) provides emergency paid sick leave benefits, called Emergency Paid Sick Leave (“EPSL”). See additional FAQs below for more information about the specific leaves.
2. When does the FFCRA take effect?
The FFCRA takes effect April 1, 2020 and ends December 31, 2020.
3. Are any employees of The University of Alabama not eligible for the FFCRA leaves?
Yes, these new laws contain broad exemptions for employees working as “health care providers” or “emergency responders.” Per the Department of Labor, “health care provider” includes anyone employed at a hospital, health care center, doctor’s office, health clinic, post-secondary educational institution offering health care instruction, medical school, and similar health care entities. Similarly, “emergency responder” includes anyone necessary for the provision of transport, care, healthcare, comfort and nutrition of such patients, or others needed for the response to COVID-19. This includes but is not limited to military or national guard, law enforcement officers, correctional institution personnel, fire fighters, emergency medical technicians, 911 operators, child welfare workers and service providers, public works personnel, and persons with skills or training in operating specialized equipment or other skills needed to provide aid in a declared emergency, as well as individuals who work for such facilities employing these individuals and whose work is necessary to maintain the operation of the facility. These exemptions are intended to ensure health care related entities are positioned to continue to provide their services during this unprecedented time.
Employees working for the following UA departments are designated as “health care providers” or “emergency responders” and are therefore exempt from receiving benefits under the new laws: College of Community Health Sciences, Student Health Center, Brewer-Porch Children’s Center, Psychology Clinic, RISE, Speech and Hearing Center, Capstone Village Retirement, Women and Gender Resource Center, Counseling Center, Collegiate Recovery, The University of Alabama Police Department (UAPD), Working on Womanhood (WOW) Program, Youth Services Institute (YSI), Marriage and Family Therapy Clinic, and Autism Clinic.
An employee working for one of the above departments who is absent from work due to specific COVID-19 reasons and is in an unpaid status on an approved Family and Medical Leave may be eligible for unemployment benefits. For more information, employees can view the COVID-19 Benefit Scenarios or visit the Alabama Department of Labor website. Should an employee apply for and be awarded unemployment benefits, know that UA does not approve these benefits nor control the timing of the payment of these benefits.
4. What is “regular rate of pay” for purposes of the FFCRA?
For both Emergency Paid Sick Leave (“EPSL”) and Expanded Family Medical Leave (“EFML”), the regular rate of pay used to calculate paid leave is the average of an employee’s regular rate over a period of up to six months prior to the date on which she takes leave. If she has not worked for six months, the regular rate used to calculate her paid leave is the average of her regular rate of pay for each week she has worked for her employer.
5. How will hours worked by a part-time employee be counted for FFCRA leave purposes?
A part-time employee is entitled to leave for the average number of work hours in a two-week period. Therefore, employers 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, the employer may use a six-month average to calculate the average daily hours.
6. Does the FFCRA apply to other illnesses or standard FMLA absences?
No. The expansion of FMLA through the EFML and EPSL is limited to COVID-19 related absences. The maximum of 80 hours of Emergency Paid Sick Leave apply only to the five types of absences due to COVID-19 related reasons. The longer EFML provisions apply only to school or place of care closings due to COVID-19. Illnesses for all other reasons are governed by The University’s existing sick leave policies, the FMLA, or other applicable laws.
7. How do employees request Emergency Paid Sick Leave and/or Expanded Family Medical Leave?
Employees must submit the appropriate request form, then a Benefits Specialist will follow-up via email to request additional documentation.
EFML Request Form (k2 Everest): https://everest-sf.fa.ua.edu/Runtime/Runtime/Form/FamilyMedicalLeaveRequestForm/.
EPSL Request Form (Qualtrics): https://universityofalabama.az1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_eb1CkeUTZh9GJSZ.