Read More

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act vs MA Paid Family and Medical Leave

Looking to learn more about the impacts and changes employers will face under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Applications Act, 2021?

CLICK HERE

The long-awaited second COVID-19 stimulus bill has finally passed. The Consolidated Appropriations Act does not have the grand name that it was originally known by, the “HEROES Act”, but it does contain needed relief for the country.

One of the first elements of the Act that an employer might notice is the optional extension of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). For employers with employees working in Massachusetts, this may introduce some confusion as to how the FFCRA leaves will interact with leaves allowed under Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave (MAPFML) which become available January 1, 2021. In some cases, the FFCRA and MAPFML leaves will accrue concurrently.

Listed below are common situations under FFCRA and how the employer should handle the application of MAPFML:

Employee takes leave due to a positive COVID-19 diagnosis:

If the employer chooses to continue FFCRA entitlements, and an employee has FFCRA leave remaining, the employee would be entitled to up to two weeks of leave (maximum of 80 hours) at the employee’s normal rate of pay, at 100% pay up to a maximum of $511 per day, or $5,110 total over the entire paid sick leave period.

This employee, in most cases, may also be eligible for paid sick leave under MAPFML as they have a serious health condition that incapacitates them from being able to perform their work. In this case, the employee would receive their normal earnings from their employer as their income replacement benefit under FFCRA. Receiving the FFCRA benefit would disqualify the employee from receiving the income replacement benefits under MAPFML. Despite not receiving the income benefits they are entitled to under MAPFML, the employee would still accrue 2 weeks of leave against their total of 20 weeks during a benefit period. After the expiration of FFCRA benefits, if the employee is still incapacitated from being able to perform their work, they would begin receiving MAPFML pay benefits.

The curveball that might be present would be if the employee is asymptomatic or has mild symptoms and is able to work from home. In this case, FFCRA may apply, but the leave would not accrue against the MAPFML benefits provided to the employee since they are not incapacitated from being able to perform their work.

Employee takes leave because the employee is quarantined by a medical professional, or in accordance with government requirements:

In this case the employee is eligible for paid leave under FFCRA at their normal rate of pay, up to a maximum of $511 per day, or $5,110 total over the entire paid sick leave period. However, they do not meet the serious health condition requirement for leave under MAPFML and benefits would not accrue concurrently.

Employee takes leave because the employee is unable to work due to their need to care for a family member who is subject to quarantine, or to care for a child (under 18) whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19:

In this case, the employee is eligible for paid leave under FFCRA at two-thirds their normal rate of pay. However, they are not eligible for leave under MAPFML. This leave would fall under the MAPFML family leave benefits, which are not available until July 1, 2021. Until then, the benefits would not accrue concurrently.

To learn more about the MA Paid Family and Medical Leave regulations, contact your local OneDigital advisor or the author, Darren Ambler, directly.

Share

Connect With a OneDigital Team Near You

Stay In The Know

Sign up for OneDigital's email newsletters!

Top