COVID-19 Updates: Emergency Paid Sick Leave

March 23, 2020

Fast Facts About the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA) of the Family First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)

On March 18, 2020, the FFCRA was enacted which includes important changes affecting employee leave.  Here are some fast facts employers need to know regarding the Paid Sick Leave provisions.

Employers affected:                

  • For private employers, those employing less than 500 employees.

Applicable period:                          

  • April 2, 2020 through December 31, 2020.


  • It requires employers to pay for sick leave related to COVID-19.

Who is eligible:                                 

All employees, regardless of how long the employee has been employed, who:

  1. Is subject to Federal, State or local quarantine due to COVID-19;
  2. Has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to COVID-19;
  3. Is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a diagnosis;
  4. Is caring for a person subject to order or advice described in 1 or 2;
  5. Is caring for a son or daughter if the school or care is closed or care provider is unavailable due to COVID-19; or
  6. Experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the Secretary of HHS (none at this time).

Duration of Paid Time:                  

  • For full-time employees, 80 hours.
  • For part-time employees, the number of hours worked, on average, over a 2-week period.
  • Unused leave may not be carried over to the following year.

Amount of Pay:                               

The calculation is based on:

  • The employee’s regular rate, or minimum wage, whichever is higher, and
  • The number of hours worked, which would be either:
    1. the number of hours an employee would normally be scheduled to work; or
    2. for employees with varying hours, a number equal to the average number of hours the employee was scheduled over the 6-month period ending on the date leave is taken.

Caps on Pay:                                     

  • The amount of pay is capped at $511 per day and $5,110 in the aggregate when leave is taken for the employee’s own care.
  • The amount of pay is capped at $200 per day and $2000 in the aggregate when leave is taken to care for a family member.


  • Employer cannot require the employee to find a replacement employee to cover their hours.
  • Employer cannot require the employee use other employer-provided paid leave first.
  • Employer may not scale back its existing leave policies to account for EPLA leave.

Posted Notice:                                 

  • Employers will be required to post a notice regarding the requirements of the EPSLA.  It is expected that the Department of Labor will publish a model notice.

We know there are a lot of considerations during this uncertain time, and we are here to help advise as you navigate these uncharted waters; please contact the head of our employment law group, T. Christine Pham, by email at or by phone at (410) 547-9142 with your questions.