FFCRA Update
-- Benefits Clarification --
April 28, 2020


Please review a clarification letter from the ECA concerning the FFCRA:

All Signatory Contractors,

In response to the numerous questions that we have received concerning the paid leave requirements of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA), and the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLEA) for employers with 500 or fewer employees, we’d like to provide the following clarifications.

The EPSLA requires employers to provide paid sick leave for an employee's own coronavirus conditions at 100 % of the regular rate of pay for up to ten days (capped at $511/day) and to provide up to ten days of paid family care leave at 2/3 of the employee's regular rate of pay (capped at $200/day). The EFMLEA also requires employers to provide up to 10 weeks of child-care leave at 2/3 of their regular rate of pay (capped at $200/day) to employees whose children’s school or daycare centers are closed. The leave must be taken between April 1 and December 31, 2020.

The FFCRA took effect on April 1, 2020. Only employees on the active payroll on April 1 or thereafter are eligible for either type of pay. Slightly different criteria apply to determine whether an employee qualifies for either the sick leave or the family care leave.

The EPSLA calls for paid sick leave when employees must miss work for COVID-19 related issues. The EFMLEA calls for paid leave when the employee must miss work for childcare needs. The cost of providing the leave required by both acts is intended to be 100% reimbursable to the employer through payroll tax credits, the reimbursement includes the regular rate of pay and the cost to maintain health insurance only. ECA and IBEW Local #134 made arrangements through the Electrical Insurance Trust (EIT) that individuals short of hours for health insurance eligibility would be credited with “emergency hours” sufficient to continue their health insurance eligibility.

Having said all of this, ECA is of the opinion and is advising all contractors signatory to agreements between ECA and IBEW Local #134, that for either EPSLA or EFMLEA payments, the payment should be for the regular wage rate only (in compliance with the FFCRA). No “area” fringe benefit payments should be made on these regular wage rate payments.

If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to the ECA office at (708) 531-0022.

Thank you for your participation, your membership, and your involvement in the Chicago-Cook County electrical industry.

Stay Safe, Healthy, and Strong.
Mark L. Thomas
ECA Executive Vice President