As the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation continues to unfold, congress is in the process of providing relief. We’ve put together a brief overview of the “Families First Coronavirus Response Act”.
On Monday, March 16, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously approved unspecified technical corrections to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (the “Act”). The U.S. Senate may take up the bill on Tuesday, March 17.
The Act would be the second emergency coronavirus response measure to be passed. President Trump previously signed a bill to provide funding to federal health agencies and declared a national emergency on March 13 related to the pandemic. A third emergency measure is also being discussed.
Provisions of the Act
In addition to funding for economic assistance and COVID-19 testing, the Act contains provisions intended to support workers:
- 14 days of partially paid sick leave for government workers and employees of companies with fewer than 500 employees. Leave would be available to workers who are sick, have to care for a sick family member or have a child whose school or childcare facility has closed due to the coronavirus.
- Expansion of the FMLA for employees of companies with fewer than 500 employees, requiring partially paid leave after 14 days.
- A tax credit for employers that provide paid sick leave benefits required by the Act.
- Additional funding for state unemployment programs.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement that the Treasury would use its regulatory authority to advance funds to some small businesses to cover the cost of providing paid sick leave.
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