On March 14, 2020, the U.S. House of Representative passed H.R. 6201, Families First Coronavirus Response Act, the complete bill is available here. The U.S. Senate has yet to vote on the bill and it has yet to be enacted into law.
The intent of the bill is to guarantee free coronavirus testing, secure paid emergency leave, enhance Unemployment Insurance, strengthen food security initiatives, and increase federal Medicaid funding to states.
How the Families First Act could affect employers.
The current version of the bill expands the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) to all employers with fewer than 500 employees. It allows all employees who have been on the job for at least 30 days the right to up to 12 weeks of protected leave for any of the following reasons:
- To adhere to a requirement or recommendation to quarantine due to exposure to or symptoms of coronavirus;
- To care for an at-risk family member who is adhering to a requirement or recommendation to quarantine due to exposure to or symptoms of coronavirus; or
- To care for a child of an employee if the child’s school or place of care has been closed, or the child-care provider is unavailable, due to a coronavirus.
After the two weeks of paid leave, employees will receive a benefit from their employers that will be no less than two-thirds of the employee’s usual pay.