The Families First Coronavirus Response Act – Blog – Nextep – PEO Services
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act

Here what employers need to know about H.R. 6201.

On March 18, 2020, the president signed  H.R. 6201, or the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. We’re here to help you make sense of the changes. 

The bill provides paid sick leave and free COVID-19 testing, expands food assistance and unemployment benefits, and requires employers to provide additional protections for health care workers.

Here’s how the bill may impact your business:

A temporary expansion of family and medical leave requires employers with fewer than 500 employees to provide up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave, 10 weeks that are paid, for those employed at least 30 days if the employee cannot work and must care for a child under 18 whose school has been closed due to a public health emergency. 

The Secretary of Labor can exempt employers with fewer than 50 employees from this FMLA expansion if it would “jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern.” Employers with 25 or more employees would be required to reinstate the employees after the FMLA leave period ends while employers with fewer than 25 employees do not have to reinstate employees after the leave period if the employer is experiencing “significant economic hardship.”

The emergency paid sick leave provision requires employers with fewer than 500 employees to provide up to 80 hours of additional paid sick leave for full-time employees. Part-time employees must receive paid sick leave for the number of hours they work, on average, over two weeks to quarantine or seek preventive care for COVD-19. Employers cannot change their policies for leave and cannot require employees to use their other forms of leave first. 

The following are eligible for this benefit:

  • Employees diagnosed with COVID–19 or those experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis.
  • Employees under quarantine (including self-quarantine), at the instruction of a healthcare provider, employer, or a local, State, or Federal official
  • Employees who need to care for a quarantined family member or child whose school has been closed 

Employers are prohibited from discharging, disciplining, or discriminating against employees who take paid sick leave.

The bill also provides refundable tax credits for employers who are subject to the expanded FMLA and emergency paid sick leave requirements. These credits would be applied against the employer portion of Social Security taxes for each quarter equal to the qualifying paid leave wages paid by the employer for both the expanded FMLA and paid sick leave.

There are many specifications and guidelines that you may need to follow. Contact your HR business partner or call us at 888.811.5150 to discuss the implications for your workforce and get started on the next steps. 

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