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On March 14, 2020, the U.S. House of Representatives, with the support of the President, overwhelmingly approved a bill known as the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201).  The legislation is scheduled to be taken up by the U.S. Senate during the week of March 16th, and is expected to be signed into law promptly by the President once the legislation is finalized.

This bulletin focuses on those aspects of the legislation approved by the House that address (1) emergency paid sick leave and paid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) and (2) zero cost coverage for COVID-19 testing.

Important Note: Changes may be made to the legislation approved by the House before it is signed into law, as a technical correction bill is expected in the House, and the Senate has indicated that it may make changes.  This bulletin summarizes the provisions of the bill initially approved by the House on March 14th.

Employer Provided Paid Sick Leave

The legislation affects private employers employing fewer than 500 employees and government employers (“Covered Employers”), and provides for (1) two weeks of emergency paid sick leave and (2) additional paid sick leave under the FMLA.  Private employers employing 500 or more employees are not Covered Employers and the legislation does not require such employers to provide paid sick leave to their employees.

Continue Reading Congress Acts to Protect Employees Affected by COVID-19