President Trump Signs Into Law Emergency Paid Leave Mandates to Respond to COVID-19

Last night, President Trump signed into law H.R. 6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. The bill includes two separate paid leave mandates that will impact private sector employers with fewer than 500 employees (note, larger employers may have subsidiaries that are covered).


The first provision expands the Family and Medical Leave Act to provide a new category of leave for employees who are unable to work (or telework) to take leave to care for a son or daughter during a school closure or if child care is unavailable due to a public health emergency related to coronavirus. Employers are not required to pay employees for the first ten days of leave. However, after that, employers must provide partial wage replacement for employees on leave. Formulas in the bill provide minimum and maximum amounts of payment. Please note that although this provision is an amendment to the FMLA, it includes many of its own special definitions and rules. For example, it employees who have worked for an employee for as little as a month are covered.


The second provision implements a new paid sick leave requirement. This provision requires covered employers to provide 80 hours of paid sick leave for full-time employees for one of six enumerated purposes related to the coronavirus outbreak, including remaining in quarantine or isolation as ordered by a health care provider, self-isolating, seeking treatment for symptoms of COVID-19, caring for an individual under quarantine or self-quarantine, or caring for a child whose school is closed or whose child care provider is unavailable due to COVID-19. This law also provides formulas to determine the minimum and maximum amount of payments required.


Employers that make payments under the new provisions may apply for a tax credit against payroll taxes for 100% of covered payments. The new leave provisions are set to go into effect two weeks from today and expire on December 31, 2020.


CWC plans to publish a more complete analysis of the new law tomorrow.

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