FIRST PACKAGE PASSED: $8.3 billion for COVID-19 emergency spending
Congress passed an $8.3 billion emergency spending measure earlier this month with funding going toward developing vaccines, disease surveillance, disaster loans and more.
SECOND PACKAGE PASSED: includes free testing for COVID-19, paid sick leave, unemployment benefit measures
On March 18, President Trump signed HR 6201 into law, also known as the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. The Act includes provisions for free testing for COVID-19, emergency paid sick leave, emergency family medical leave, emergency unemployment insurance benefits, food security funding, and enhanced Medicaid matching funds for states.
The second relief package includes a mandate for paid sick and childcare leave, including for employees of county governments. Leave provisions go into effect no later than April 2.
There are two Acts that deal with paid sick leave: the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act and the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act.
Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act
This Act provides paid leave to employees who are unable to work due to the Coronavirus, COVID-19. The amount of the benefit is greater for the employee’s own illness than other covered reasons. Full-time employees are entitled to 80 hours of leave and part-time employees are entitled to leave for the number of hours they work on average over a two-week period.
Paid leave to either quarantine or to seek a COVID-19 diagnosis or preventive care for the employee are paid at the employee’s regular rate of pay, up to $511 per day and $5,110 total per employee.
Paid leave if an employee is caring for a family member with a COVID-19 diagnosis, or to care for a child whose school or daycare has closed as a result of coronavirus concerns. This is limited to two-thirds of the employee’s regular rate of pay, up to $200 per day and $2,000 total per employee.
Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act
This Act requires all employers with fewer than 500 employees to provide up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave to employees who are unable to work due to the need to care for a child whose school or child care provider is unavailable because of COVID-19. The first 10 days of leave are unpaid and the remaining 10 weeks must be paid at two-thirds of the employee’s regular rate.
THIRD PACKAGE BEING NEGOTIATED
A third package is in the works that could include direct financial aid to Americans, grants/loans to businesses, loans to essential industries in crisis (like airlines) and spending on health care and equipment (like funding for vaccines or respirators).