Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) FAQs

By Bob Jennings of TaxSpeaker

  1. When is the effective date of the FFCRA? The Department of Labor announced that the paid leave provisions are effective on 4/1/2020 and apply to leave taken between 4/1/2020 and 12/31/2020.


  1. I have heard you say this is mandatory for all employers, even if I only have 1 employee. Is there an exception for small business? There is a small business exception if the business has fewer than 50 employees, but to get the exemption the business must “elect the small business exemption” whatever that is, and prove it to the DOL. No guidance is available yet.


  1. The touchiest question of all. “If I lay off employees before April 1, may I avoid the Sick leave and family leave provisions of this new bill? I frankly have no money right now, my business has been closed for 2 weeks and I would have to use food money to pay employees and then wait for a credit that does me no good.” I have to answer this one honestly, but yes, if you layoff by Tuesday night, March 31, the new Act does not apply to you or your employees. The new law is NOT retroactive.


  1. Can an employee use the first 2 weeks of time off under the sick leave pay plan you discussed and have it apply to the 2 weeks (out of 12) under the care portion of the Act, thus getting full pay for 2 weeks, and then lesser pay for 10 weeks. Assuming the employee meets the requirements to qualify, such as quarantined by state and caring for kids whose school was cancelled, yes.


  1. Are there any steps I should take in my tax office that you recommend? Tax returns are not due until July 15. All overtime should have already stopped a week ago, if not it needs to stop today, as should all weekend and night work. Yes, clients want their refunds, but you have to run your business in a business-like manner too, and overtime for something not due for 3 and ½ months makes no sense. Bluntly, the client should have gotten the information in earlier. If you employ seasonal help I would (this is cold and heartless, but you asked) immediately, before April 1, let them go. Your firm should be able to handle the workload with its regular staff levels since there are 3 more months to get it done.
  1. What about this 3rd bill that will probably pass by the weekend? I have in my possession now the 883-page bill passed by the Senate last night. Assuming it is passed by the House today or tomorrow I will go through it over the weekend. Anything that requires timely action within a few weeks I will put in a special newsletter next week. I will also be doing a special webinar on it, but it is too early to say if it will be 1,2,4 or 8 hours. If I believe it needs a full 8 hours to do it, I will first go through our state society sponsors and offer it through them, then as our own webinar. As to whether it will be a live class-well, not until fall at the soonest!