A Breakdown: Families First Coronavirus Response Act
House leadership and President Trump agreed to legislation Friday night in response to COVID-19. On Saturday, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act passed the House in a bipartisan vote and is now working its way through the Senate.
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act is a relief bill aimed to ease the effects of Coronavirus on the nation’s economy and public health. Here are some key provisions of this bill that would impact business: unemployment compensation, paid sick leave and paid family medical leave.
Paid Sick Leave – This would require private-sector employers with less than 500 employees and the government to provide employees two-weeks of paid sick leave. This leave can be used for employees personally experiencing or caring for family members who are experiencing illness due to coronavirus. This would also apply if school is closed due to other public health emergencies. Employers would be 100% reimbursed quarterly through a tax credit.
Paid Family and Medical Leave – Similar to the paid sick leave employers over 500 employees are exempt from the provision. Also, health care providers, emergency responders and small businesses with fewer than 50 employers may be exempt from this provision by order of the Secretary of Labor if it would cause an undue hardship. Employees will be granted up to 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave to care for families who have been exposed to or have symptoms of coronavirus.
Unemployment Compensation – This would provide an additional $1 billion to states for unemployment programs. States with an increase of 10% or higher in their unemployment rate due to the coronavirus would receive 100% federal funding for Extended Benefits. This is normally 50% cost share with state funding. This bill would also extend the ability to collect unemployment benefits beyond the usual 26 weeks and could ease work search requirements. A temporary easement would be given on increases in employer Unemployment Insurance Taxes if they experience high layoff rates as a result of a COVID-19 outbreak.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce supports this bill and has provided a summary.
This bill if passed would sunset at the end of 2020.
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