WASHINGTON – Congress this week passed H.R. 6201, the “Families First Coronavirus Response Act.”
Below is a summary of the provisions contained in that bill provided to members by the Missouri Municipal League.
PAID FAMILY MEDICAL LEAVE ACT
The bill provides 12 weeks of job-protected, paid FMLA leave, of which the first 14 days may be unpaid, for employees of employers with fewer than 500 employees.
Employees may use accrued personal or sick leave during the first 14 days, but employers may not require employees to do so.
This leave benefit covers employees who have been working for at least 30 calendar days.
Employees may use the leave to respond to quarantine requirements or recommendations, to care for family members who are responding to quarantine requirements or recommendations and to care for a child whose school has been closed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
After the first 14 days, employers must compensate employees in an amount that is not less than twothirds of the employee’s regular rate of pay. These pay requirements apply to only the COVID-19-related leave reasons.
The provisions of H.R. 6201 will go into effect 15 days after the date of enactment and expire on Dec. 31.
PAID SICK LEAVE
Employers with fewer than 500 employees will be required to provide full-time employees two weeks, 80 hours, of paid sick leave for specific circumstances related to COVID-19, such as self-isolating, doctors’ visits, etc.
Part-time employees are entitled to the number of hours of paid sick time equal to the number of hours they work, on average, over a two-week period.
Employers must compensate employees for any paid sick time they take at their regular rates of pay.
Employers are required to post a notice informing employees of their rights to leave.
The bill expressly provides that it does not preempt existing state or local paid sick leave entitlements.
The provisions will go into effect 15 days after the date of enactment and expire on Dec. 31.
The bill provides $1 billion in emergency unemployment insurance relief to the states: $500 million for costs associated with increased administration of each state’s unemployment insurance program and $500 million held in reserve to assist states with a 10% increase in unemployment.
In order to receive a portion of this grant money, states must temporarily relax certain unemployment insurance eligibility requirements, such as waiting periods and work search requirements.