On March 18, 2020, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“Act”) was signed into law.
Among other things, the Act establishes paid sick leave (under a new law, known as the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act) and temporarily expands the existing federal Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (“FMLA”). Notably, the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act and FMLA expansions only apply to employers with fewer than 500 employees and government employers. In addition, the leave provisions in the Act focus on the current coronavirus emergency, and do not address leave requirements for any future pandemics.
The Act provides tax credits for employers offering qualified paid sick leave and paid family leave wages (subject to certain caps and limitations) to offset the cost of providing the paid leave. The Treasury Department likely will issue additional regulations on the subject.
In addition to the paid leave requirements, the Act also requires employer-sponsored group health plans to provide coverage for COVID-19 testing at no cost to participants, a measure that many employers have already taken voluntarily.