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Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act

The Family Medical Leave Act is an act which provides twelve weeks of job protection for qualifying individuals who must take leave due to their own or a loved one’s medical condition. Under the newly signed Families First Coronavirus Response Act, that protection is being extended through the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLEA). Protections now apply for people who are employed by companies with less than 500 employees and who:

  • Take leave because they were exposed to or experience symptoms of coronavirus
  • Care for an at-risk family member
  • Care for a child whose school is closed or whose childcare provider is otherwise unavailable due to coronavirus

While FMLA provides a blanket exception for businesses with less than fifty people, EFMLEA does not. For those protected under this act, the first two weeks of leave may be unpaid under EFMLEA, although employees may be paid under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA) (more info on the EPSLA here). The remaining ten weeks must be paid at a rate at least two thirds of the employee’s regular rate.

The Act allows the Department/Secretary of Labor to exempt small businesses with fewer than fifty employees if these requirements would jeopardize the business as a going concern. There may also be an exemption to the job protection provision for businesses with twenty-five employees or less if the employee’s position does not exist after FMLA because of an economic downturn resulting from the coronavirus.

Discriminatory or retaliatory acts against an employee who is utilizing the benefits under the EFMLEA are prohibited. The protections will be enforced under already-existing protections pursuant to the FMLA.

The attorneys at Leonard Sciolla are here to help you understand what you, as an employee, are entitled to under these laws. If you feel you are not receiving the benefits you deserve, call our firm at (215) 567-1530 and ask to speak with one of our Employment Law attorneys.

UPDATE: Since the publishing of our post, the Department of Labor has issued this poster providing additional guidance regarding the new job and PTO protections created by the FFCRA.

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