On April 7th, 2020

CalHR Issues Policy and FAQ’s on Federal Families First Act Benefits

On March 16, 2020, CalHR issued initial guidance to State employees on its website: https://www.calhr.ca.gov/Pages/covid-19-updates-for-state-workers.aspx.  Most significantly, with respect to leave entitlement as a result of COVID-19, CalHR advised:

(1)  employees who are subject to quarantine at the direction of their county health department would receive Administrative Time Off (ATO) during the quarantine; and,

(2) employees who were required to take time off from work due to school closures would be able to utilize all available leave credits.

On March 18, 2020, the federal government enacted the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).  On April 1, 2020, CalHR issued policy to help implement the terms of the emergency legislation.  FFCRA created two temporary federal leave benefits:

(1) Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA) and,

(2) Emergency Family Medical Leave Expansion Act (E-FMLA).

Both are effective April 1, 2020.

EPSLA allows for the payment of up to eighty (80) hours pay at the employee’s regular rate for federal, state and local quarantine orders, medical restrictions from the employee’s treating physician for COVID-related symptoms, and the care of a child as a result of school closures. The time is to be reflected as ATO on the employee’s time sheet.

E-FMLA allows for 12 weeks of leave.  The first two (2) weeks are unpaid, though employees may apply the 80 hours of EPSLA leave during this period. For weeks three (3) through twelve (12) employees are entitled to receive 2/3’s of their regular salary up to a maximum of $200 per day and a total benefit amount of $10,000 during the period of E-FMLA.  Employees may supplement E-FMLA with their own leave credits for full salary.  This benefit can also be used for the care of a child as a result of school closures.

On April 6, 2020, CalHR issued a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) with respect to the FFCRA.  The FAQ clarified that leave taken under FFCRA cannot be denied based on operational need and that if there are spouses who are both employed by the state, they are each eligible for their own FFCRA benefits but the leave is to be taken intermittently if for the care of a child as a result of school closure.

Should you have any questions, please email contactus@cslea.com.

Below are links to the CalHR implementation policy and FAQ:

CalHR Policy Families First Coronavirus Response Act

Families First Coronavirus Response Act - Frequently Asked Questions

Another helpful link:

U.S. Department of Labor Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Questions and Answers

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