Important Information Regarding
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act
Became Law March 18, 2020
EFFECTIVE DATE: April 1, 2020
Brothers and Sisters:
We are sure that sometimes, during this national public health emergency, you might be overwhelmed by the information coming at you on the TV, on social media or via news outlets. In addition, the federal, state and local authorities are taking action and providing you with directions, every day, that can be hard to organize. So, we at Teamsters Local Union 677 wanted to take this opportunity to explain three important parts of federal legislation that has passed that affects you as workers and citizens that you shouldn’t miss. More federal legislation will follow and the state and local governments also have taken action, but this communication is limited to the provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, effective April 1, 2020, regarding:
- Free Coronavirus Testing,
- Paid Sick Leave, and
- Paid “Family Leave”.
FREE COVID-19 TESTING
Health insurers and benefit plans, such as the Teamsters Local 677 Health Services and Insurance Plan, are required to provide coronavirus diagnostic testing without cost to you. In addition, testing is provided at government test sites for FREE with a doctor’s recommendation. This program will expand. If you have any of the following symptoms of COVID-19, get tested; it’s free.
- Dry cough
- Lung congestion/difficulty breathing
- Fever (it may come and go)
- Can’t smell or taste
- Lack of appetite
Your health and the health of the community depend on identifying and isolating infected people.
PAID SICK LEAVE – First Ten Days
- Private employers with fewer than 500 employees and all public employers must provide up to TWO-WEEKS of paid sick leave if employees can’t work (or telework) because they
- are isolated or quarantined under federal, state or local order related to COVID-19;
- have been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19;
- have symptoms of COVID-19 and are seeking a diagnosis;
- are caring for someone with symptoms or quarantined or isolated;
- are caring for their child under 18 home from a closed elementary or high school or unavailable daycare; or
- fall into other circumstances defined later in regulations.
- The paid sick leave is 100% of salary up to $511 per day
- The employee cannot be required to use other paid time off such as vacation or sick days.
PAID “FAMILY LEAVE” – Available ONLY After 10 days of leave and ONLY to care for child under 18 home from a closed school
- Private employers with fewer than 500 employees and all public employers must provide up to 12-WEEKS of paid leave ONLY if employees can’t work (or telework) because they are caring for their child under 18 home from a closed elementary or high school, or unavailable daycare.
- The paid family leave is 2/3 of salary up to $200 per day
- The employee cannot be required to use other paid time off, but may be allowed to.
- The paid leave starts after ten days of leave for this purpose.
- Only employees who have been working for the employer for 30 days are entitled to this paid leave.
Some Questions Related to Paid Sick and Family Leave under the Families First Act:
- Is my employer covered by this requirement?
In general, any private employer with fewer than 500 employees is required to comply with these requirements. All public employers - federal, state and local (including school districts) – as long as they employ one or more employee must comply. Only federal executive branch agencies and some health care providers, which can opt-out in certain circumstances, are exempt.
That means that UPS probably isn’t covered by this law. There is no clear guidance, but UPS has more than 500 employees as that is described in the statute.
- Do I need a doctor’s note?
In re: Paid Sick Leave – only
If you have symptoms, your employer may ask for a doctor’s note. However, please note that your employer is entitled to a tax credit to reimburse them for paid sick and “family leave”, which they can take on their own. They don’t generally need to apply for it. So, they generally can’t say that “the government requires it”.
In re: Paid Sick or Family Leave
If you are quarantined or isolated because of a federal, state or local action or are caring for a child who is home because his or her elementary or high school is closed, a doctor’s note would not be necessary in our opinion. For instance, many schools are closed in the State of Connecticut by mandate of the Governor. If your child is home and you must stay home to care for this child, your employer must give you two weeks of paid sick leave and then up to 12 weeks of paid “family leave”.
- Can I get both paid sick leave and paid “family leave” to care for my child home from school?
Yes. Paid sick leave starts immediately and lasts for two weeks – or ten working days. Paid leave to care for a child starts after you have taken ten days of leave. Therefore, if you cannot work because you have to care for a child who’s elementary or high school is closed, you can receive paid sick leave and paid “family leave” concurrently. However, it is not necessary to receive them concurrently.
- Will I have to pay taxes on these leave payments?
- When will these requirements end?
The provisions of the statute terminate on December 31, 2020. However, the requirements to provide paid leave a conditioned on the Coronavirus emergency. So, these requirements will exist for as long as there is a Coronavirus emergency, but no longer than the end of the year.
We hope you find this information helpful. Stay safe.
John P. Capobianco, Secretary-Treasurer
on behalf of the Executive Board of the Teamsters Local Union No. 677
 Pursuant to the actions of federal, state or local authorities or COVID-19 infection.
 Pursuant to the actions of federal, state or local authorities.