Dear Clients and Friends,

You are probably aware, by now, that Congress passed the The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA or Act) on March 18, involving new paid sick leave and extended paid FMLA-like leave. Here are some highlights, while further below is a link to important resources providing more detail.

  • In essence, the Act requires employers (such as non-profit public charter schools) to provide to any of its employees employed for the past 30 days:
    • up to 80 hours of paid leave at full pay (subject to limits) for any eligible full-time employee because (a) the employee is quarantined, and/or (b) experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis. (Hours are pro-rated for part-time employees); or
    • Up to 80 hours of paid leave at two-thirds the employee’s regular rate of pay (subject to limits) because (a) the employee is unable to work because of a bona fide need to care for an individual subject to quarantine (pursuant to Federal, State, or local government order or advice of a health care provider), or (b) the employee must care for a child (under 18 years of age) whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19, and/or (c) the employee is experiencing a substantially similar condition; and
    • Up to an additional 10 weeks of paid expanded family and medical leave at two-thirds the employee’s regular rate of pay (subject to limits) for an employee unable to work due to a bona fide need for leave to care for a child whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19.
  • Employers qualify for dollar-for-dollar reimbursement through tax credits for all qualifying wages paid under the FFCRA. Applicable tax credits also extend to amounts paid or incurred to maintain health insurance coverage.
  • Employers may qualify for exemption from the Act’s requirement to provide leave due to school closings or child care unavailability if the “leave requirements would jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern.”
  • Employers must post notices of employee rights (see link below for posting copy).
  • The Act’s effective date is April 1, 2020 and it “sunsets” on December 31, 2020 (if not extended); the Department of Labor is allowing a 30-day grace period for enforcement, provided employers act “in good faith.” 

For details, here is a link to critical resources available from the U.S. Department of Labor (including required employer notices).

 
As I read it, all North Carolina charter schools are subject to this law as it applies to your 30-day workforce in place as of this April 1. We encourage you, among other things: 
  • to make sure your HR staff is conversant with basic requirements
  • consider if your school qualifies for and must claim the exemption; and 
  • communicate with your finance office and/or accounting provider to advise you on potential financial ramifications and protocols. 

As usual, please contact us if you need further assistance.

 
I hope you are weathering well this viral storm. As I teach graduate educational leadership students (online of course), I am amazed and delighted to learn of the extra efforts and commitment of educators to serve their communities beyond the call of duty (e.g., handing out meals to any children who need them, including students in charter schools).  I look forward to all the “hero stories” and celebrations of people and communities that pitched in to help one another.  And let us also consider and pray for those who are sick, under-served, and especially suffering in this crisis.  It is a trial by fire for so many.  
 
Best wishes,
 
David


David R. Hostetler, Esq.

Lex-is Services
4711 Hope Valley Road
Suite 4F-512
Durham, NC 27707

919-308-4652 (direct)
919-442-8593 (internet line)
815-301-3931 (fax)
drhostetler (skype)