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Summary of Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201)

This is a summary of what the President signed on Wednesday, March 18, 2020, after it passed both houses. Employers of employees with 50-500 employees are affected. Department of Labor emergency regulations have not clarified what the “50 employee” amount means, but we do not appear to come within that category. Both for profit and nonprofit/religious employers appear to be covered, since DoL wage laws, not just unemployment insurance laws, are amended. The bill is supposed to come into effect within 15 days of Wednesday, March 18th. Some parts of the bill expanded unpaid family and medical leave for persons with personal or family quarantine support obligations, and also expanded unemployment insurance eligibility.

Summary of legislation applicable to all employees:

Persons who work for the government, or for a company with fewer than 500 employees but more than 50 employees will will be eligible for two weeks of sick leave at their regular pay rate so they can either quarantine, or to seek a COVID-19 diagnosis or preventive care for themselves. Full-time employees will be entitled to 80 hours worth of paid sick time. Part-time employees will be entitled to the number of hours they normally work in a two-week period.

FMLA Expansion:

Employees will also be eligible for two weeks of paid sick leave at no less than two-thirds of their regular pay rate if they are caring for a family member with a COVID-19 diagnosis, or to care for a child whose school or daycare has closed as a result of coronavirus concerns. After 10 days of unpaid leave, their employers will pay them no less than two-thirds of their usual pay—up to $200 per day, and $10,000 in total. Current weeks allowed are up to 12.

Employer Reimbursement Via Tax Credits (applies to quarterly payroll taxes, not income taxes, so Foundation will benefit):

Companies with less than 500 employees will have to front the costs of paid sick and emergency leave, but will later be eligible for reimbursement tax credits from the government. For paid sick leave wages provided to employees who must quarantine because they are sick with COVID-19 or are trying to obtain a diagnosis, companies will be reimbursed up to $511 per employee per day. For paid sick leave wages provided to employees caring for loved ones, employers will be reimbursed up to $200 per worker per day. Self-employed individuals are also eligible for the reimbursable tax credits.

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