On Wednesday, the Senate passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act or H.R. 6201. The approved legislation has been sent to President Donald Trump’s desk for his signature. On Monday evening, the House passed its amended and final version of the bipartisan legislation, which we outline below. Stay tuned for updates as the approved legislation awaits the President’s signature.
Revisions to the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Act Expansion
Under the amended bill, a “qualifying need” for emergency FMLA leave is limited to instances where an employee is unable to work or telework because his or her child’s school, day care, or child care is unavailable. Previously, the bill allowed for emergency FMLA leave to quarantine, to care for a family member, or to provide childcare.
The amended bill also lowers the number of emergency FMLA leave days that may be unpaid from 14 days to 10 days. The amended bill also limits the amount of required pay for emergency FMLA leave to no more than $200 per day and $10,000 in the aggregate.
The Secretary of Labor has the power to exclude health care providers and emergency responders from the definition of employees under the proposed legislation, in the amended bill. And the Secretary of Labor can also exempt small businesses (fewer than 50 employees) if the required leave would “jeopardize the viability of their business.” In another nod to small businesses, the amended bill excludes employers with fewer than 50 employees in a 75-mile radius from civil FMLA damages in an employee-initiated lawsuit.
Revisions to the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act
The House also modified the emergency paid sick leave provision. Now, in the amended bill, employees may be entitled to emergency paid sick leave if the employee is experiencing any other substantially similar condition to coronavirus, specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of Labor. Employers may exclude their employees who are health care providers or emergency responders from the amended subsection.
The amended bill caps paid sick leave at $511 per day and $5,110 in the aggregate for leave used if the employee is in quarantine, self-quarantine, or experiencing symptoms of coronavirus and seeking medical diagnosis. Paid sick leave is capped at $200 per day and $2,000 in the aggregate if the employee is using leave to care for a family member, provide child care, or because they are experiencing any other substantially similar condition to coronavirus as specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services.