Families First Coronavirus Response Act & Small Business Exemptions

In order to take advantage of the FFCRA Small Business exemption, an employer with fewer than 50 employees is exempt from providing: (a) paid sick leave due to school or place of care closures or child care provider unavailability for COVID-19 related reasons and (b) expanded family and medical leave due to school or place of care closures or child care provider unavailability for COVID-19 related reasons when doing so would jeopardize the viability of the small business as a going concern. A small business may claim this exemption if an authorized officer of the business has determined that:

  1. The provision of paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave would result in the small business’s expenses and financial obligations exceeding available business revenues and cause the small business to cease operating at a minimal capacity;  
  2. The absence of the employee or employees requesting paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave would entail a substantial risk to the financial health or operational capabilities of the small business because of their specialized skills, knowledge of the business, or responsibilities; or  
  3. There are not sufficient workers who are able, willing, and qualified, and who will be available at the time and place needed, to perform the labor or services provided by the employee or employees requesting paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave, and these labor or services are needed for the small business to operate at a minimal capacity.

At this time, documentation should not be sent to the Department of Labor. Rather, the employer’s officer must prepare documentation explaining that one of the above-listed criteria has been met. Any documentation prepared in support of the election must be retained for at least four years.

Authored by Attorneys Carl R. Buck and Lorien E. Schoenstedt


About the Author

Carl R. Buck

Carl Buck joined RCK Law Firm in 1999 after working as a felony prosecutor for the Will County State’s Attorney. He became a firm partner in 2003 and works from the Joliet office. Mr. Buck focuses his practice on commercial […]

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