Federal Updates

Published Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Today the Senate passed HR 6201 requiring additional paid leave provisions and tax credits to businesses, along with other relief efforts. The House passed the bill earlier this week. Click here for more detailed information from our partners at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Paid Leave under FMLA 

The bill temporarily expands the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to require 12 weeks of paid leave for employees who take leave for the following purposes: 

  • To follow requirements or recommendations to quarantine due to exposure or symptoms of coronavirus
  • To care for a family member who is quarantined due to exposure or symptoms
  • To care for a child of an employee if the child’s school or place of care has been closed, or the childcare provider is unavailable due to the coronavirus

The first two weeks of leave are unpaid, but employees may choose to use accrued paid leave for that period. Leave must be paid at two-thirds the regular rate of pay. Other FMLA leave remains unpaid. Certain employees will be exempt under rules adopted by U.S. Department of Labor including health care providers and emergency responders. Employers with fewer than 50 employees may be exempt if complying with the law would jeopardize the viability of the business.

Paid Sick Leave 

This provision of HR 6201 requires employers with fewer than 500 employees to provide employees with two weeks of paid sick leave for leave related to coronavirus – including self-isolation, medical diagnosis, caring for oneself or a family member and to care for a child because a school has closed or a childcare provider is unavailable. For full-time employees that is 80 hours and for part-time employees it will be whatever is equivalent to two weeks of work. Leave due to isolation or diagnosis will be paid at the regular rate of pay. Leave to care for a child or family member will be paid at two-thirds the regular rate of pay. 

The Association of General Contractors sent a letter to the Senate, opposing parts of HR 6201 because of the burden funding this much leave would put on small businesses. Read the letter by clicking here.

Tax Credits 

Employers who provide paid emergency sick leave may be eligible for tax credits.