This week, moving at unprecedented speed, the U.S. Congress approved a major stimulus measure to address issues related to the coronavirus outbreak that includes significant new paid leave mandates that will apply to employers with fewer than 500 employees. The new mandates include a temporary paid sick leave benefit requiring covered employers to provide employees with up to 80 hours of paid sick leave, and a temporary expansion of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to provide partial wage replacement for child care related to the outbreak. Employers will be eligible to recoup costs of the paid leave benefits by using the bill’s tax credit provisions.

The hastily drafted bill raises many questions that may need to be addressed later in the legislative process or through additional legislation or regulation. In addition, while the creation of a paid leave mandate for coronavirus relief purposes enjoys bipartisan support on the surface, there continues to be broad disagreement about the contours of such a program and how it should be implemented.

A copy of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201), as signed into law by President Trump on March 18, 2020, is available online. Congress also is expected to approve additional coronavirus relief in the coming days that will have clear workplace implications.

Members of the Center for Workplace Compliance (CWC) can read more here.