Your Guide To Paid Family Leave In The Families First Coronavirus Response Act

Posted at 7:53 PM, Jun 01, 2020

With schools closed and many child care providers unable to work, parents across Metro Detroit are anxious about returning to the job as the economy reopens.

More on the family leave act that could be the lifeline parents so desperately need.

With limited childcare opportunities, parents are wearing multiple different hats at home. As workers are asked to return to the job, things may only get more challenging, which is why the government has stepped up to provide some relief.

Our whole schedule before was set around the daycare and schooling.

For Julie and Keith of Livonia, being full time working parents has always been a bit of a juggle.

"I was able to be home by the time the school would get out," said Julie Vandwater. "He’d be able to get the little one from preschool or I would."

"It was a team effort but it was working, that is until the pandemic hit," said Keith Gniewek.

"There’s a lot of disruptions," said Vandwater.

After being laid off for weeks, Keith was asked to return to his automotive sequencing job but was told he’d have to work a different shift.

"Now I work until four in the morning. I have to get up and take care of the kids all day and go back into work at 5:30pm at night," said Gniewek.

The new arrangement now putting a strain on the family as they struggle to balance work obligations with the full time needs their two little girls.

"There’s also the fear of having someone else in your home right now, where else are they going when they’re not in your house, how much risk are they in their lives," added Vandwater.

For this couple and countless other parents across Metro Detroit, there could be some relief. In March, Congress passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act - or the FFCRA to protect working parents.

"We aren’t 100 percent sure that he qualifies for that," said Vandwater.

Julie and Keith said they couldn’t find the answers, so we went looking for them.

Here’s the Rebound Rundown on what you need to know:

  • You have to be caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed or have a child care provider that’s unavailable for reasons related to Covid -19 and be working full or part time with a company that has less than 500 employees.
  • If you qualify, you’re warranted two weeks paid and an additional ten weeks and if you’ve been on the job longer than 30 days.
  • As for pay? You’d get 2/3 of your regular rate or 2/3 of the applicable minimum wage, whichever is higher up $200 a day and $12,000 over a 12 week period.
  • If you want protection under the act, begin by contacting your employer’s human resources.
  • If you work for a company that has less than 50 employees, then do note your employer could qualify for an exemption if your leave would significantly jeopardize their business.
  • The government says it will strongly enforce the law to prevent small businesses from using the exemption to avoid providing paid leave to workers.

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Additional Coronavirus information and resources:

Click here for a page with resources including a COVID-19 overview from the CDC, details on cases in Michigan, a timeline of Governor Gretchen Whitmer's orders since the outbreak, coronavirus' impact on Southeast Michigan, and links to more information from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the CDC and the WHO.

View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.

Find out how you can help businesses and restaurants struggling during the pandemic.

Also, get information about Rebound Mid Michigan, with stories, information and more about coming back from COVID-19

Join the Rebound Mid Michigan Facebook Group.

See complete coverage on our Coronavirus Continuing Coverage page.