How Florida Small Businesses Can Obtain FFCRA Exemptions for Employees

Last updated: June 8, 2020
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FFCRA Exemptions for Florida Small Businesses

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Objective:

Entities:

  • Any small business that employees between one and fifty (50) workers, including (but not limited to) LLCs, corporations, non-profits, sole proprietorships, and partnerships.

Additional Information:

  • The FFCRA was passed in April 2020, to provide additional emergency paid sick leave and family medical leave to employees impacted by Covid-19. Shortly after, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) released instructions for qualifying small businesses in need of exemptions from the FFCRA. More specifically, only employers with fewer than 50 employees may apply for a small business exemption, and only under certain circumstances detailed below.

Qualifying Reasons for Exemption

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FFCRA exemptions are only available for the employees requesting time off so that they can take care of minor children as the result of school or daycare closures. Exempt employees also must be necessary enough to business operations that their absence would either threaten the business’s viability or force it to operate beneath acceptable standards. Specifically, the employer must be able to prove that:

  1. there are no other employees who have the time, sufficient skills, qualifications, or availability to take over for the absent employee; OR
  2. the employee’s absence would cause the small business’s expenses and financial obligations to exceed their available revenue, causing the business to function beneath minimum capacity; OR
  3. the employee has a certain set of skills, unique responsibilities, or proprietary knowledge that are essential to the business’s financial health or operational ability.

No Exemptions for Actual Sick Leave

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To reiterate, employers can only ask for exemptions for employee leave requests related to childcare, and not for leave requests related to Covid-19. There are no FFCRA small business exemptions for employees who request leave because:

  1. their doctor or other healthcare provider has recommended that they self-isolate;
  2. they are subject to an official quarantine or self-isolation order;
  3. they have Covid-19 symptoms and are seeking a diagnosis; or
  4. someone else under quarantine, an isolation order, or who is sick with Covid-19 relies on that employee for their care.

Case-by-Case Determination and Necessary Documentation

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Because the small business owner needs to prove that the employee’s absence will be detrimental to the business, these exemptions need to be made on a case-by-case basis. However, multiple exemptions can be elected all at once. You do not need to file with the DOL for each employee that you want to be excepted. A company officer only needs to prepare one set of documents as evidence that the above criteria have been satisfied. This documentation should be kept on hand in an easily accessible location for a minimum of four years.

FL Patel Law is a business law firm that is proud to advocate for our clients. Visit us online to schedule your consultation or call us at (727) 279-5037.

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