The Federal Government passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, HR6201 on March 18th, 2020. This legislation will allow for free screenings, two weeks of paid sick leave for State government workers and private companies with fewer than 500 employees to either quarantine or seek a COVID-19 diagnosis, and enhances unemployment benefits for people affected by COVID-19.

The Legislation also provides that:

  • Employers must provide 80 hours (2 WEEKS) of paid leave benefits to full-time employees. Part-time workers get a number of hours equal to the number of hours worked on average for a 2 week period if the employee has been ordered by the government to quarantine or isolate.
  • Paid family leave will be provided to employees whose minor child’s school or child care service is closed due to a public health emergency will receive benefits capped at $200 a day or $10,000 total when an employee is taking care of someone else.
  • Those advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine because of COVID-19 are also eligible. Sick leave benefits for an employee’s own care is capped at $511 a day.
  • Employers are prohibited from requiring an employee to use other paid leave provided by the employer before the employee uses the Federal paid sick time.
  • Nothing in HR6201 diminishes any right or benefit under another law, the collective bargaining agreement, or existing employer policy.
  • Covered employers will be eligible for refundable tax credits.

Family and Medical Leave Act

FMLA leave is amended to include Public Health Emergency Leave for employees who have been employed for at least 30 calendar days. Employees who are unable to work (or telework) due to a need for leave to care for the son or daughter under 18 years of age of such employee if the school or place of care has been closed, or the child care provider of such sone or daughter is unavailable, due to a public COVID-19 health emergency. The first 10 days for which an employee takes leave under this new section 102(a)(1)(F) may consist of unpaid leave. An employee may elect to substitute any accrued vacation leave, personal leave, or medical or sick leave for unpaid leave. An employer shall provide paid leave for each day of leave under section 102(a)(1)(F) that an employee takes after taking leave under such section for 10 days. Paid sick time to care for family members shall be calculated based on an amount that is not less than two-thirds of an employee's regular rate of pay and the number of hours the employee would otherwise be normally scheduled to work. In no event shall such paid leave exceed $200 a day and $10,000 in the aggregate. Businesses with fewer than 50 employees are exempt when the imposition of such requirements would jeopardize the viability of the business.

If you have questions, please contact us

If you have any questions or if you would like to discuss the matter further, please contact me, Carolyn Chaudry, or the Scarinci Hollenbeck attorney with whom you work, at 201-896-4100.