Coronavirus Bill Requiring Paid Employee Leave Signed into Law

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This Legal Update is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice. Readers should contact legal counsel for legal advice.
Last updated 3/19/2020.

The Act requires paid leave benefits related to the coronavirus outbreak.

Emergency Paid Sick Leave

The Act requires two weeks of paid sick leave for government workers and employees of companies with fewer than 500 employees. Leave must be made available to workers who are symptomatic or are under an order or advice to quarantine or self-isolate, who have to care for a family member under such an order or advice, or who have a child whose school or child care provider or facility has closed or is unavailable due to the coronavirus.

Future regulations may exempt small businesses with fewer than 50 employees from the paid sick leave requirement. Health care providers and emergency responders may be excluded from both types of leave benefits.

Emergency Family and Medical Leave Act

The Act provides FMLA rights for some employees of companies with fewer than 500 employees, requiring partially paid leave after 10 days when an employee is unable to work or telework due to school or childcare closures related to the coronavirus.

Other Provisions

The Act provides funding for economic assistance and requires health plans to cover COVID-19 testing at no charge. A refundable tax credit for employers that provide paid leave benefits as required by the Act is also included. The U.S. Treasury is expected to use its regulatory authority to advance funds to some small businesses to cover the cost of providing paid sick leave.

Important Dates

March 14, 2020
The Act was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives.

March 18, 2020
The Act was passed by the U.S. Senate and signed by the president.

December 31, 2020
Emergency leave benefits for workers provided under the Act would expire.