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Congress Finalizes COVID-19 Coronavirus Response Act: Prepare To Provide Paid Sick Leave And FMLA

Congress Finalizes COVID-19 Coronavirus Response Act:
Prepare To Provide Paid Sick Leave And FMLA
3.18.20
 
The Senate passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act today, an economic stimulus plan aimed at addressing the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on Americans and introducing paid sick leave and an expanded family and medical leave act to the nation’s employers. An earlier version of this Act (H.R. 6201) was previously passed by the House in the early hours of Saturday, March 14 before being significantly altered late Monday, March 16. The bill now awaits President Trump’s signature, which is expected later today or tomorrow as he has already publicly supported the bill. Once he signs the bill, it will become effective in 15 days.

[Ed. Note: The president signed the legislation on the evening of March 18, which means the leave provisions will go into effect on April 2.]

This Act includes many provisions which apply to employers, such as paid sick leave for employees impacted by COVID-19 and those serving as caregivers for individuals with COVID-19. While the Act also contains several provisions to increase funding for familiar benefit programs, like WIC and SNAP, this legal alert summarizes the key benefit provisions of the Act which affect employers.

There are two provisions providing paid leave to employees forced to miss work because of the COVID-19 outbreak: an emergency expansion of the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and a new federal paid sick leave law.