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Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act and the Emergency Family and Medical Leave (Part 1)

Updated: Apr 6, 2020

The Federal Act signed into law by President Trump provides for two paid leaves that employers across the United States must provide to employees in response to the coronavirus epidemic.

Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act


The Act is effective in 15 days and applies to employers with 1 to 499 employees.

It gives qualified workers two weeks of paid sick leave if they are ill, quarantined or seeking diagnosis or preventive care for coronavirus, or if they are caring for sick family members. It gives 12 weeks of paid leave to people caring for children whose schools are closed or whose child care provider is unavailable because of coronavirus.

Which workers qualify?

Most workers at small and midsize companies and nonprofits can get the paid leave, as can government employees, as long as they’ve been employed at least 30 days.

Any workers or employers excluded?

Workers at places with fewer than 50 employees are included. The Labor Department could exempt small businesses of 50 employees or less if providing leave would put them out of business. Employers can also decline to give leave to workers on the front lines of the crisis: health care providers and emergency responders.


  • Full time employees: 80 hours of paid leave

  • Calculated at their regular rate of pay (as calculated by the FLSA) or the minimum wage, whichever is greater.

  • Part-time employees: Average number of hours worked over a two-week period.

  • If employee works a variable schedule, it is the average number of hours they worked per day over the previous six months. If the employee has not worked this long, it is the reasonable expectation of the employee at the time of hire of the average number of hours per day the employee would normally be scheduled.

We located the below chart that declares rate of pay and a cap on payment amount:

Employers cannot require employees to use any other leave prior to using the Emergency Paid Sick Leave.

Employers are not required to pay out any unused Emergency Paid Sick Leave at the end of employment.

We are awaiting for reimbursement information and/or payroll tax credits that will offset these new costs for employers, and will advise as soon as Congress passes legislation, and we have that information. There are some known credits for employers for the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act, discussed in the next post.

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