California Workplace Rights Blog

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

New Sick and Childcare Leave for Some Workers Affected by the Coronavirus

The Coronavirus has affected workers throughout the country, especially in California.  Many workers have fallen ill, are caring for family members who have fallen ill or are caring for children whose schools have closed.  Recently the Congress passed a law to provide relief to these and other groups of workers.  The law is known as the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).  The new law takes effect on April 1. 

Important:  The law only applies to employers with less than 500 employees.  At the end of this post is a link to the Dept. of Labor Fact Sheet About the Law.

(If you think it should apply to all employers, you should contact your Congressional Representative and Senators and ask them to expand it.)

The law is divided into two parts.  The first part provides paid sick leave in the following situations:

  • 80 hours of sick pay at your regular rate of pay if you have Covid-19, are experiencing symptoms of Covid-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis, or have been ordered to quarantine yourself
  • 80 hours of sick leave at 2/3’s of your regular rate of pay if you are caring for someone who is subject to a quarantine order
  • 80 hours of paid sick leave at 2/3’s of your regular rate of pay because your child’s school or childcare provider is closed due to Covid-19.

Part-time employees are eligible for leave on a pro rata basis.

This leave is in addition to any other sick leave, PTO, etc. that you may be entitled to receive.

Your employer must allow you to use this paid sick leave before requiring you to use any other kind of paid leave. 

The second part of the new law is known as the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act or E-FMLA.

The E-FMLA provides 10 weeks of paid leave for parents whose child’s school or childcare provider is closed due to Covid-19.  The pay is at 2/3’s of your regular rate of pay.  Part-time employees may use E-FMLA leave on a pro rata basis.

As with the FMLA, under the E-FMLA provides job protections for employees who take E-FMLA leave.

Since this is a new law many employers may not be aware of it or may not understand it.  You can refer them to the Department of Labor through the link below to learn more about the law.

To learn more about the FCCRA visit the Department of Labor at

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