The Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (“ELMLEA”) broadens the
scope of the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (“FMLA”), making it applicable to
employers with fewer than 500 employees, including law firms, without the exclusions
found in FMLA for companies with fewer than 50 employees within a 75 mile radius.
Regulations are expected to be promulgated as soon as April, 2020, specifying that
certain provisions may not apply to certain employers with fewer than 50 employees
if the leave requirements would jeopardize the viability of the business as a going
concern. The bottom line: unless your firm qualifies for an exemption, it will likely be
subject to ELMLEA (even if it was never subject to FMLA).
Eligible employees (those who have been employed for at least 30 calendar days) can
apply for extended leave if, as a result of a public health emergency (i.e., COVID-19),
they are unable to work (or telework) due to a need to care for a son or daughter
under 18 years of age if the school or childcare provider has been closed or is
unavailable, due to a public health emergency.
The first 10 days of any leave under ELMLEA are unpaid, unless the employee chooses
to use any accrued paid time off (“PTO”). After the first 10 days of ELMLEA leave, the
employee is entitled to paid leave equal to the lesser of: (a) two-thirds of his or her
regular rate of pay, or (b) $200/day; provided that the aggregate amount of ELMLEA
leave may not exceed $10,000.