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Is an Expansion of Emergency Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and Paid Sick Leave on the Horizon?

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Saturday night, the House of Representatives passed the “Families First Coronavirus Response Act.” The Bill still needs to pass the Senate and then be signed by President Trump, so plenty of unknowns and possible changes could occur to the Bill including it not being passed at all. However, if it were to pass as is, the following would be particularly important to all government employers and businesses with less than 500 employees. 

Employees working for all government employers and businesses with less than 500 employees would be: 

  • Eligible for FMLA after working 30 days (vs. the usual one year of employment) for reasons including quarantine due to coronavirus, caring for a family member who must quarantine or caring for a child of an employee unable to go to school/daycare due to coronavirus closure (Division C – Emergency Family Medical Leave Expansion Act).
  • Eligible (for the same eligibility reasons as the Emergency FMLA Expansion Act) for two weeks of paid leave, on top of an employee’s current accrued paid time off, if applicable (Division E – Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act).

It also appears under Division G – Tax Credits for Paid Sick and Paid Family Medical Leave, employers impacted by Division C & E (above) would be eligible for a tax credit. 

What Should Employers Do Now? 

None of this has been passed into law at this time. However, employers may want to start planning for how to implement these measures which if passed, would become law 15 days after the Bill is signed. We will continue to monitor and issue a legal alert if these mandates do become law. 

Disclaimer: This blog was written by Michelle Turner, MBA, Compliance Consultant, Alera Group Central Region. This blog post intends to provide general information regarding the status of, and/or potential concerns related to, current employer HR & benefits issues. This blog should not be construed as, nor is it intended to provide, legal advice. The opinions expressed herein are based upon the author’s experience as a Compliance Consultant and may not reflect the opinions of your counsel.