Senate Passes Families First Coronavirus Response Act

Written by: Emily Shupe, Rathje Woodward LLC

On March 18, 2020, the Senate passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, and the President is expected to sign the bill shortly.  The Act includes several provisions regarding emergency paid sick leave and paid family leave in the event of school closures due to COVID-19.  Specifically, the Act requires employers with up to 500 employees to provide paid sick leave and paid family leave and provides a refundable payroll tax credit to employers.

In general, employers must offer 10 days of paid sick leave for COVID-19-related reasons, although existing leave policies may count towards the 10 days.  If the sick leave is for an employee who is seek or seeking a diagnosis, the benefit must replace all of the employee’s wages, up to a maximum of $511 per day.  If the employee is caring for a qualifying ill individual, the benefit must replace at least two-thirds of the employee’s wages, up to a maximum benefit of $200 per day.

In addition, employers must offer 12 weeks of paid leave for employees: (1) who have been employed for at least thirty days; (2) who have a qualifying minor child; and (3) are experiencing closures of the child’s school or place of care.  While the first 10 days are unpaid, the employee may use the 10 days of paid sick leave.  The benefit must replace at least two-thirds of the employee’s wages, up to a maximum benefit of $200 per day.

There are tax credits that will offset 100% of the employer’s costs for providing this leave, and credits to offset the employer contributions for health insurance premiums during the leave period. In addition, employers with less than 50 employees may be eligible for exemptions based on a demonstration of hardship.

Rathje Woodward LLC

Rathje Woodward advises clients on a broad range of employment and labor matters, including compliance, policies and procedures, internal investigations, administrative proceedings, collective bargaining negotiations and disputes, union avoidance policies and litigation defense.  If you have questions about how these new laws may impact your business, contact Emily A. ShupeRaymond J. SanguinettiMark J. McAndrew, or John R. Zemenak at 630-668-8500. Their online contact form may be found here.

For more information regarding Rathje Woodward’s employment practice and its attorneys, please visit www.rathjewoodward.com.