Here is a question we got from one of our clients and the response provided by our firm’s payroll manager Greta Malstrom (payroll@schwartzaccountants.com):

Q: Two of my staff members have contracted this virus while on furlough. I am trying to find out the legal obligations for me to provide sick leave once the office is fully open.

A: You’re referring to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA.) https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic.

  • If the employees are on furlough, then you are not required to pay anything. At this time, most of our clients’ staff are most likely on unemployment.
  • If when they return to work and the employees get sick or need to care for someone for COVID-19 reasons from 04/01/20-12/31/20 (see rules for specific reasons), then you may have to pay. https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-employer-paid-leave.

Basically, the amount you need to pay depends on the reason they are out of work and is based on their regular rate of pay and the average hours they work in a two-week period up to a max.  I recommend you read through the Federal Dept of Labor info here for specifics.  https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-employee-paid-leave

One other big thing. Employers qualify for dollar-for-dollar reimbursement through tax credits for all qualifying wages paid under the FFCRA.