COVID-19

Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)

Updated April 7, 2020

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) was passed by Congress and signed into law on March 18, 2020. This page provides information on the Emergency Paid Sick Leave, Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion and health provisions of the FFCRA.

These changes are now in effect.

Emergency Paid Sick Leave

This is for informational purposes only. Paid sick leave is administered by individual employers and not included in the Symetra Absence Management Program.

  • Applies to employers with fewer than 500 employees.
  • Employers must provide paid sick leave at 100% of an employee’s pay for an employee’s own quarantine and/or COVID-19 symptoms, up to a maximum of $511 per day, $5,110 total.
  • Employers must provide paid sick leave at two-thirds of an employee’s pay for caring for family members, including children out of school or daycare, due to COVID-19, up to a maximum of $200 per day, $2,000 total.
  • Full-time employees are eligible for up to 80 hours of pay; part-time employees are eligible for the average number of hours the employee works over a two-week period.

Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion

  • Applies to private employers with fewer than 500 employees. In general, employees of non-federal public agencies are entitled to expanded family and medical leave, regardless of how many employees the public agency has. This includes employees of states, cities, municipalities, townships, counties, parishes and similar entities.
  • Most federal employees are not entitled to expanded family and medical leave—the U.S. Department of Labor has advised federal employees to seek guidance from their employer as to eligibility to take expanded family and medical leave.
  • Employers must provide 12 weeks of job-protected leave for employees who are unable to work (or telework) due to care for a child whose school or daycare is closed as a result of COVID-19.
  • Individuals are eligible if they have been employed by their employer for at least 30 calendar days. Note this is broader than the standard FMLA requirement that an employee must be employed for 12 months and have worked at least 1,250 hours in the preceding 12 months.
  • The first ten days may be unpaid. Employees may use vacation, personal leave or sick leave for this period (including emergency paid sick leave, as described above) during the initial ten days, if qualifying conditions are met.
  • Employers must provide benefits at two-thirds of pay, up to $200 per day, $10,000 total.
  • The amount of FMLA leave to which an employee is entitled in the applicable 12-month period is not expanded by Emergency Family and Medical Leave.
  • For employers with less than 500 employees and currently enrolled in the Symetra Absence Management Program, we will track Emergency Family and Medical Leave taken by employees in the same manner in which leaves are tracked for other qualifying reasons. Please note that payment of Emergency Family and Medical Leave benefits is not included in the Absence Management Program, and therefore must be paid by individual employers.

Impact to Symetra group disability plans

Symetra group short- and long-term disability plans typically integrate with employer-paid sick leave. As a result, employers may see changes to the information we request during the disability claims process.

Health provisions

The health provisions included in the FFCRA affect plans providing minimum essential coverage (MEC).

Specifically, MEC plans are required to cover, with no cost-sharing to the member, items and services furnished to an individual during health care provider office visits. This includes:

  • In-person and telehealth visits.
  • Urgent care center visits.
  • Emergency room visits that result in an order for, or administration of, COVID-19 testing.

 

The information provided does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. Consult your independent legal representative for more information.

 

Symetra® is a registered service mark of Symetra Life Insurance Company. Symetra Life Insurance Company is a direct subsidiary of Symetra Financial Corporation.

First Symetra National Life Insurance Company of New York is a direct subsidiary of Symetra Life Insurance Company and is an indirect subsidiary of Symetra Financial Corporation (collectively, “Symetra”). Neither Symetra Financial Corporation nor Symetra Life Insurance Company solicits business in the state of New York and they are not authorized to do so. Each company is responsible for its own financial obligations. Group benefits are insured by Symetra Life Insurance Company, 777 108th Avenue NE, Suite 1200, Bellevue, WA 98004.

Not available in any U.S. territory. In New York, group benefits are insured by First Symetra National Life Insurance Company of New York, New York, NY. Mailing address: P.O. Box 34690, Seattle, WA 98124.