Employer Coronavirus Update

March 23, 2020
Daily Employer Coronavirus Update:
Summary of Emergency Leave Law
Murphy Austin realizes that our clients’ first priority is the well-being of their employees and families. This is the fifth of our daily updates with important information pertaining to COVID-19 in the context of employment law. If you have missed any of our previous updates, please click here to visit Murphy Austin’s COVID-19 Employer Updates page.

Today’s update focuses on the new Emergency Federal Sick Leave and Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provisions.

New Emergency Federal Sick Leave and FMLA Provisions
The Families First Coronovirus Response Act includes several important items, including funding for unemployment and food assistance.  It also creates new sick leave and paid FMLA provisions, which are summarized in today’s update.
Sick Leave  
The emergency sick leave law requires employers of less than 500 employees to provide paid sick to all employees (beginning day 1 of their employment) for the following reasons:
  1. Employee is subject to governmental quarantine or isolation order
  2. Employee is advised by health care provider to self-quarantine
  3. Employee has symptoms of COVID-19 and is seeking medical advice
  4. Employee is caring for a person in categories 1-3 above
  5. Employee is caring for his or her child whose school or child care is closed
  6. Employee is experiencing a substantially similar condition to be determined by the Secretary of Health & Human Services

Full-time employees are entitled to 80 hours of sick leave. Part-time employees are entitled to the average number of hours worked over a two-week period.
The rate of pay depends on the reason for the leave. An employee taking sick leave under items 1-3 above is paid his or her regular rate of pay (up to $511/day and $5110 total). An employee taking sick leave under items 4-6 above is paid at 2/3 the rate of his or her regular rate of pay (up to $200/day and $2000 total).
You may not require employees to take other paid leave before they take this sick leave.
The emergency FMLA expansion requires employers of less than 500 employees to provide paid FMLA leave to employees who have been employed at least 30 calendar days only when the employees need leave to care for their children whose school or daycare is closed.
Employers of less than 50 employees may receive a waiver if the leave would jeopardize the viability of the business, under regulations to be issued by the Secretary of Labor.
Employees taking this leave will be unpaid for the first ten days. Employees have the option to substitute other paid leave available to them. After the first ten days, the leave will be paid at 2/3 of the employee’s regular rate, based on the amount of hours normally worked (capped at $200/day and $10,000 total)
Employer Tax Credit
Employers will be entitled to take the amounts paid for sick leave and FMLA benefits under these emergency measures as credits against payroll taxes. Should the credit be insufficient to cover the costs paid for leave, the excess will be refundable to the employers. Employers should seek specific advice from their accountants or other qualified professional regarding these credits.
Murphy Austin’s Labor and Employment Law Team


Sublime Digital Marketing Group


About Ken

Ken Henderson is a seasoned entrepreneur and digital marketing professional, presently serving as the CEO of Sublime Digital Marketing Group, a respected marketing agency located in Rancho Cordova, California.


Boasting over two decades of industry experience, Ken has cultivated expertise in numerous facets of digital marketing, such as website design, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), copywriting, communication, CRM systems, and advertising on platforms like Facebook and Google. As a certified Google Partner and Zoho Partner, Ken’s knowledge is both extensive and cutting-edge.


Alongside his marketing abilities, Ken has delved into automation and artificial intelligence applications, integrating them into his collaborations with businesses and non-profits. His work with a wide array of clients, including non-profits, law firms, property managers, political campaigns, private schools, and small to medium businesses, has aided them in achieving their marketing goals.


Beyond his business accomplishments, Ken is an active community leader. He sits on the board of the Rancho Cordova Chamber of Commerce, contributing to the shaping of the region’s economic outlook, and is also a special advisor to MLK365, a group dedicated to making positive impact in communities. Moreover, he is a graduate of the prestigious Rancho Cordova Leadership Program and also a Certified GENEIUS, attesting to his remarkable leadership qualities.


Ken’s speaking engagements provide valuable insights into digital marketing, automation, and artificial intelligence and creative finance for businesses. His goal is to encourage others to embrace innovative marketing strategies and utilize technology for business growth.


Social Venture Partners


About Brad

Brad brings over 20 years of executive leadership in both the for-profit and non-profit sector. As a technology entrepreneur, he has helped to launch several enterprise software startups, one of which he led as Co-Founder and Vice President from 2002 through to its exit in 2016. He brings a people-centered style of leadership that leads to healthy organizational culture. He enjoys developing systems, strategy, and structure that set the foundation for organizations to scale and grow. Brad is considered a purpose-driven person and always seeks to “start with why” in everything he gets involved with. 
Beyond the enterprise technology roles he’s held, Brad was also instrumental in launching several community-based social entrepreneurship endeavors. He is the founder of the Orangevale-Fair Oaks Food Bank, Orangevale Food Bank Farm, HART of Orangevale and Fair Oaks, and the Big Day of Service. He also served as President of the Orangevale Chamber of Commerce from 2018-2022 where his impact led to a re-energized business and nonprofit membership community. Under his leadership, the Chamber secured $10M funding from SACOG for Greenback Lane streetscape improvements, 3x membership growth, 5x budget growth, formation of the Orangevale Community Council, and a more vibrant culture throughout the community. Brad currently serves on the boards of several other nonprofit organizations in the Capital Region. 
Brad currently serves as the Executive Director for Social Venture Partners of Sacramento, an organization seeking to build nonprofit connections and capacity by bringing together leaders from the business and nonprofit community. He oversees partnership growth strategy, daily operations, portfolio engagement, and major events such as the annual Fast Pitch social innovation program.
In 2018, Brad and family also launched a 10-acre u-pick flower farm called Heirloom Acres Farm. Thousands of people visit their farm all summerlong for flower u-pick events, and they also host a holiday barn market and have Christmas trees available in December. 
Brad’s superpower and life mission is about bringing people together for a purpose. He believes our community will be stronger when leaders are connected and engaged. 




About Debbie

Debbie is the founder and Executive Director of Health Education Council. Her two primary areas of expertise are cross-sector coalition building and reducing health disparities in diverse low-income communities.




About Michelle

Michelle Odell is the Director of Public Affairs for Kaiser Permanente in South Sacramento, where she oversees all aspects of Public Affairs including community relations, government relations; community health and community benefit planning; and internal and external communications, including media relations.

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Kristi Rolak is Sales Director in Sacramento for One Workplace, a full service commercial interior furnishings company headquartered in Santa Clara and serving greater Sacramento.