Now You Know It: Special Edition

On Monday, we shared an update on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act that had been approved by the House of Representatives and sent to the Senate. The Senate has since passed a modified version of the Act, and President Trump has signed it into law.

While most of what we described Monday was retained, here are a few key changes made to the legislation this week:

Expanded FMLA leave is only available to employees caring for a child home due to school closure or unavailability of a day care provider.

As originally passed by the House, the bill would have provided extended paid FMLA leave to employees sick with (or caring from someone sick with) COVID-19. That provision has been eliminated. Such employees will still qualify for traditional FMLA leave, but that leave is unpaid.

Emergency Paid Sick Leave eligibility has been expanded. It is available to employees:

  1. Subject to a government quarantine or isolation order;
  2. Self-quarantining on the advice of a health care provider;
  3. Experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking medical care;
  4. Caring for an individual who falls under 1 or 2 above;
  5. Caring for a son or daughter whose school is closed or daycare unavailable due to COVID-19;
  6. Experiencing other similar conditions as specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services.

As originally passed, qualifying event #4 above (caring for an individual) was limited to employees caring for a family member. As revised, there is no restriction as to who the employee may be caring for. Additionally, the revised legislation contemplates potential government quarantine orders such as in the San Francisco Bay area (event #1 above) and also future circumstances not yet defined but within the discretion of the Secretary of Health and Human Services (event #6).

The new law must be implemented within 15 days, so we can expect implementing rules and regulations in the near future. Stay tuned.