Clients and Friends:
Liberty Insurance has done an initial review of the U.S. House of Representatives has passed Bill H.R. 6201 – Families First Coronavirus Response Act. The Bill needs to be approved by the Senate and signed by the President of the United States before it becomes law. The effective date of any changes would be prospective. This is not a legal opinion.This legislation includes seven divisions, we are highlighting some of the key points of this legislative action for employers include:
- DIVISION C Emergency Family and Medical Leave (FMLA) Expansion Act
- DIVISION E Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act
- DIVISION F Health Provisions Coverage for Coronavirus Testing
DIVISION C – Emergency Family and Medical Leave (FMLA) Expansion ActThe current bill would require employer groups with one to 500 employees to provide Family Medical Leave for the coronavirus. This expands FMLA to include employers as well as employees who may not currently be required to comply with FMLA.
Eligible employees for FMLA would be an individual employed for at least 30 days with the right to take up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave for the following reasons:
- To adhere to a requirement or recommendation to quarantine due to exposure to or symptoms of the coronavirus.
- To care for an at-risk family member who is adhering to a requirement or recommendation to quarantine due to exposure to or symptoms of coronavirus; and
- To care for a child of an employee if the child’s school or place of care has been closed, or the child-care provider is unavailable, due to a coronavirus.
The initial 10 days of leave under this section, are not required to be paid by an employer. Employees must be given the option to elect to use available vacation, sick time or personal leave.
A business with fewer than 50 employees can be exempt if the imposition would jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern.
DIVISION E – Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act
The current bill would require employer groups with fewer than 500 employees to provide two weeks paid sick leave. After the two weeks of unpaid leave, eligible employees will receive a benefit from their employers that will be no less than two-thirds of the employee’s usual pay.
The sick leave would be paid for the following reasons:
- To quarantine or seek a diagnosis or preventive care for coronavirus for employee, pay is capped at $511 per day.
- To care for family member quarantine or seek a diagnosis or preventive care for coronavirus for employee. This payment would be at two-thirds the regular rate of pay capped at $200 per day.
- To care for a child whose school or childcare provider is unavailable due to the virus. This payment would be at two-thirds the regular rate of pay up to $200 per day.
Another section of this bill includes a tax credit for employers for the paid sick leave up to 100% of the payments made.
DIVISION F – Health Insurance Coverage for Coronavirus TestingThe bill requires private health plans (employer plans) to provide coverage for COVID-19 diagnostic testing, including the cost of a provider, urgent care center, emergency room visits and telehealth visits in order to receive testing. Coverage must be provided at no cost to the consumer. The bill as it stands does not include any provisions for the treatment of the virus.
Liberty will continue to keep you up to date with the rapidly changing landscape as more information becomes available on this topic. Please keep in mind that this Bill is still in the Senate and has not yet been signed into law.
ADDITIONAL SECTIONS OF THIS PENDING LEGISLATION INCLUDE:
DIVISION A-SECOND CORONAVIRUS PREPAREDNESS AND RESPONSE SUPPLEMENTAL APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2020
DIVISION B-NUTRITION WAIVERS DIVISION
DIVISION D-EMERGENCY UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE STABILIZATION AND ACCESS ACT OF 2020
DIVISION E-EMERGENCY PAID SICK LEAVE ACT
DIVISION G- TAX CREDITS FOR PAID SICK AND PAID FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE
DIVISION H-BUDGETARY EFFECTS
A complete copy of the pending legislation can be found by clicking here.
Liberty will continue to keep you up to date with the rapidly changing landscape as more information becomes available on the bill. Please keep in mind that this Bill is still in the Senate and is not yet the law.
Disclaimer: We share this information with our clients and friends for general informational purposes only. It should not be construed as, nor is it intended to provide, legal or accounting advice. If you have questions regarding specific issues and application of these rules to your plans, you should consult your company’s legal or tax advisors.