Families First Coronavirus Response Act: The Families First Coronavirus Response Act is a federal law affecting health plans, paid sick leave for certain employers, and expanded protections under the Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”).
The Act requires that group health plans cover the costs associated with COVID-19 testing with no cost-sharing.
PAID SICK LEAVE
Employers must provide paid sick leave for any qualified full-time or part-time employee who cannot because they:
are subject to a governmental quarantine order
have been advised by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine due to coronavirus
have coronavirus symptoms and are seeking a diagnosis
are caring for someone affected by one of the foregoing
are caring for a child whose childcare provider is closed due to coronavirus.
If the employee is sick or is in quarantine, sick leave is paid based on the higher of the employee’s regular rate of pay or up to $511 per date and $5,110 in the aggregate. If the employee is caring for a family member or child, sick leave is paid based on 2/3 of the regular rate of pay up to $200 per day and $2,000 in the aggregate. Affected employers are eligible for a refundable payroll tax credit to cover the costs of the extended paid leave and health benefit costs.
EMERGENCY FMLA CHANGES
Employers with fewer than 500 employees must allow a qualified employee to take up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave if the employee needs to stay home to care for a child due to an emergency school closure. The first 10 days of leave may be unpaid, although the employee can use vacation, personal, or sick leave. The remainder of the leave must be paid at no less than 2/3 of the employee’s regular rate of pay based on the number of hours the employee is normally scheduled to work, but no more than $200 per day or $10,000 in the aggregate.
Employers must continue offering group health benefits on the same terms as if the employee was actively at work during the FMLA leave. Affected employers are eligible for a refundable payroll tax credit to cover the costs of the extended paid leave and health benefit costs.