On Wednesday, March 18th, President Trump signed the second coronavirus aid package, H.R. 6201 (The Families First Coronavirus Response Act), into law. Among other things, the bill creates a new emergency paid sick leave benefit that would allow workers to take up to two weeks of paid leave at 100 percent wage replacement in the event of coronavirus symptoms, being subject to federal state or local quarantine, being advised to self-quarantine, or needing to provide coronavirus-related care to a child or family member. An additional 10 weeks of leave at two-thirds wage replacement would be accessible only for workers who need to provide childcare as a result of school closures.
Here is the direct link to the the newly signed HR6201 bill https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/6201/text
Families First Coronavirus Response Act
This bill responds to the coronavirus outbreak by providing paid sick leave and free coronavirus testing, expanding food assistance and unemployment benefits, and requiring employers to provide additional protections for health care workers.
Specifically, the bill provides FY2020 supplemental appropriations to the Department of Agriculture (USDA) for nutrition and food assistance programs, including:
- the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC);
- the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP); and
- nutrition assistance grants for U.S. territories.
The bill also provides FY2020 appropriations to the Department of Health and Human Services for nutrition programs that assist the elderly.
The supplemental appropriations provided by the bill are designated as emergency spending, which is exempt from discretionary spending limits.
The bill modifies USDA food assistance and nutrition programs to:
- allow certain waivers to requirements for the school meal programs,
- suspend the work requirements for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as the food stamp program), and
- allow states to request waivers to provide certain emergency SNAP benefits.
In addition, the bill requires the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to issue an emergency temporary standard that requires certain employers to develop and implement a comprehensive infectious disease exposure control plan to protect health care workers.
The bill also includes provisions that:
- establish a federal emergency paid leave benefits program to provide payments to employees taking unpaid leave due to the coronavirus outbreak,
- expand unemployment benefits and provide grants to states for processing and paying claims,
- require employers to provide paid sick leave to employees,
- establish requirements for providing coronavirus diagnostic testing at no cost to consumers,
- treat personal respiratory protective devices as covered countermeasures that are eligible for certain liability protections, and
- temporarily increase the Medicaid federal medical assistance percentage (FMAP).