Families First Coronavirus Response Act FAQ

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act creates obligations for many employers to provide temporary relief to eligible employees affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. This FAQ answers commonly asked and anticipated questions regarding the paid leave provisions of the new law and is based on the final text of the legislation, as well as the legislative history of the bill.

For the full alert, please visit the Faegre Drinker website.

COVID-19: New Jersey Updates as of March 22, 2020

On Saturday, March 21, 2020, Governor Murphy issued two additional Executive Orders. The Orders, Executive Order 107 and Executive Order 108 went into effect that same day at 9 p.m. They will remain in effect until revoked or modified.

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COVID-19: New York Updates as of March 22, 2020

Overview of Certain Restrictions:

Already In Place by March 20, 2020 In-person workforce reduction by 50%, except for essential businesses.

All common portions of retail shopping malls with an excess of 100,000 square feet of retail space available for lease must close, unless they have a separate exclusive entrance. Essential businesses exempt.

Closure of indoor and outdoor public amusement, video lottery or casino gaming, gyms, fitness centers or classes, and movie theaters.

By March 21, 2020 at 8 p.m. In person workforce reduction by 75%, except for essential businesses.

All barbershops, hair salons, tattoo or piercing salons, nail salons, hair removal services and related personal care services must close.

By March 22, 2020 at 8 p.m. 100% of the New York workforce must stay home, except for essential businesses.

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COVID-19: New Jersey Updates As of March 20, 2020

Statewide Restrictions:

On March 16, 2020, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy ordered all schools, casinos, racetracks, gyms, fitness centers, movie theaters, performing arts center, other concert venues, nightclubs, and other entertainment centers to close to the public effective March 16, 2020 at 8 p.m., except for schools, which were ordered to close effective March 18, 2020. Governor Murphy also limited public gatherings to 50 persons or fewer, excluding normal operations at airports, bus and train stations, medical facilities, office environments, factories, assemblages for the purpose of industrial or manufacturing work, construction sites, mass transit, or the purchase of groceries or consumer goods.

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Pennsylvania Businesses Ordered to Shut Down their Physical Operations If Not “Life Sustaining”


  • 3/20/2020: The Wolf administration has updated the list of what it deems a “life sustaining” business. The updated list is here. Business now identified as life sustaining that were not previously included include: forestry, logging, and support activities; mining (including coal and metal ore mining) and support activities; specialty food stores; insurance carriers and related activities (except in-person sales brokerage); insurance and employee benefit funds; accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping, and payroll; traveler accommodation; and dry cleaning and laundry services. Businesses that were previously designated as “life sustaining” but no longer carry that designation (and therefore must close in-person facilities) include beer, wine, and liquor stores (except beer distributors) and civic and social organizations. The governor’s press release announcing the updates is here. The administration has made clear that this is “an evolving situation and decisions will continue to be made and revisited as needed.”
  • 3/20/2020: Businesses seeking an exemption to the closure Order may do so via this website. Businesses are required to provide a justification as to why the operation is “life-sustaining,” and must state the number of employees required to be on-site to perform the “critical work.” Businesses must also describe plans to comply with CDC guidelines and mitigation efforts.
  • 3/21/2020: Governor Wolf amended the enforcement deadline from his original shutdown Order. Enforcement on non-compliant businesses will begin Monday, March 23 at 8:00 a.m., and not on Saturday, March 21, as previously ordered.
  • 3/21/2020: The Department of Community and Economic Development has issued a set of Frequently Asked Questions and responses to provide additional guidance regarding Governor Wolf’s shutdown Order. The FAQ responses indicate that authorities should make compliance determinations based on the operations of a particular facility, rather than the business as a whole. For example, construction businesses (which are identified as non-“life sustaining”) may continue working on road repair and similar emergency efforts, but must suspend other activities that are not “clearly authorized” as life sustaining. Further, in response to a question about whether businesses may “maintain limited in-person essential personnel for security, processing of essential functions, or to maintain compliance with federal, state or local regulatory requirements,” the DCED states that businesses suspending physical operations pursuant to the Order “must limit on-site personnel to maintain critical functions,” while following social distancing and other mitigation guidelines. The FAQ responses also indicate that enforcement “should be prioritized to focus on businesses where people congregate,” and that although enforcement measures are within the discretion of the state or local agency, the administration expects that enforcement will be progressive, and will start first “with a warning to any suspected violator.” The FAQ responses also clarify that hotels and motels, as well as local governments and municipalities, are not required to cease physical operations.

On Thursday, March 19, 2020, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf ordered all Pennsylvania businesses that are not “life sustaining” to shut down physical operations by Saturday, March 21 at 12:01 a.m.  A copy of the Order is here.  Such business may continue to operate on a virtual or telework basis, “so long as social distancing and other mitigation measures are followed.”

The Order specifically exempts “life sustaining businesses,” which may remain open subject to those businesses undertaking the same social distancing and mitigation measures.  Similarly, the Order allows “businesses that offer carry-out, delivery, and drive-through food and beverage service” to continue operations, subject to the same social distancing and mitigation measures.  The Order incorporates a list of life and non-life sustaining businesses, which can be found here.

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