FAMILY FIRST CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE ACT
The Family First Coronavirus Response Act rapidly moved through Congress to provide relief to businesses impacted by COVID-19. Here is a User’s Guide to Implementation.
See Guidance from the IRS on implementing the Families First Act.
Provisions Most Likely to Impact Clubs
Coronavirus testing is made cost-free for the uninsured and insurance companies are required to provide the test and related services such as office visits with no co-payment or prior-authorization.
Coronavirus Emergency Leave is provided in the bill for employees of businesses with fewer than 500 workers.
- Employers would have to provide as many as 12 weeks of job-protected Family and Medical Leave for employees who have to:
- Comply with a requirement or recommendation to quarantine because of exposure to or symptoms of the virus.
- Provide care to a family member who’s complying with such a requirement or recommendation.
- Provide care for a child younger than 18 who school or day care has closed due to the virus.
- The first 14 days of the leave could be unpaid, though a worker could choose to use accrued vacation days, personal leave or other paid time off.
- Following the 14 day period, workers would receive a benefit from their employers that would be at least two-thirds of their normal pay rate.
- FMLA is also amended so employees could use unpaid leave if they are diagnosed with the virus, caring for a family member or child due to closures.
- Department of Labor is authorized to issue regulations that would exempt small businesses with fewer than 50 employees and exclude certain health care providers and emergency responders from paid leave benefits.
Emergency Sick Leave
Emergency sick leave for employees of businesses with fewer than 500 employees would be a total of 80 hours for full-time employees and the equivalent of the normal number of hours a part-time employee would work over a two-week period.
Sick leave would be made available for those who:
- Obtain a medical diagnosis or care for coronavirus.
- Provide care for a family member who has been diagnosed or is in quarantine or for a child who school or day care has closed due to coronavirus.
Employers with similar existing paid leave policies would be required to provide workers with the emergency paid sick time and cannot require a worker to use any other available paid leave before using the sick time:
- Employers would be prohibited from requiring a worker to find a replacement to cover their hours during time off.
- Discharging or discriminating against workers for requesting paid sick leave or filing a complaint against the employer.
This is the provision that had a significant error that requires the House to pass the legislation again. It has to do with the pay caps that are set at $511 per day to care for themselves or $200 a day to care for a family member or child.
An employer could be subject to civil penalties for a violation of paid sick leave requirements.
Employer Tax Credits
Employment Tax Credit is Now Available for Businesses subject to mandated paid leave under the Family First Coronavirus Response Act. The legislation provides payroll tax credits to employers to cover wages paid to employees while they are taking time off under the bill’s sick leave and family leave programs. The credit is refundable if it exceeds the amount the employer owed in payroll taxes and would be in effect for wages through the end of 2020.
Treasury Department would have to issue regulations and/or guidance to get these provisions into effect so the mechanics have yet to be fleshed out. The bill goes into effect 15 days after passage.
The bill also contains additional unemployment benefits.