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The U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly voted to pass the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (the “Act”) today. President Trump quickly signed the legislation in to law.
The $100 billion bill is the second emergency coronavirus response measure to be passed. President Trump had previously signed a bill to provide $8.3 billion in funding to federal health agencies and declared a national emergency on Friday, March 13, 2020 over the pandemic.
This second phase of the Act provides for free testing, expanded funding for food security programs and paid sick, family and medical leave for workers at companies with 500 employees or fewer.
A third emergency measure is also being discussed in which the White House will “solidify plans for an even larger package to address the fallout of the pandemic,” according to CBS News.
Provisions of the Act
In addition to funding for economic assistance and COVID-19 testing, the Act contains provisions intended to support workers:
- 14 days of paid sick leave, at two-thirds (or more) of their regular rate of pay, for government workers and employees of companies with fewer than 500 employees. Leave is available to workers who are sick, have to care for a sick family member or have a child whose school or childcare facility has closed due to the coronavirus.
- Expansion of the FMLA for employees of companies with fewer than 500 employees, requiring paid leave at the two-thirds rate after 14 days.
- A tax credit for employers that provide paid sick leave benefits required by the Act.
- Additional funding for state unemployment programs.
Additionally, the Act includes funding to ensure the country’s nutrition assistance programs (WIC, local food banks, elderly food assistance programs) have adequate resources to help those impacted by the COVID-19 public health emergency.
Click here for a summary of the Families First Response Act as approved by the House.
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