Update on Bill HR 6201 (Additional Paid Leave for Coronavirus Related Absence)

Today, we’re touching base again to share a critical update on HR 6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, and what it may mean for you.
What to Know About the Bill
On Friday, March 13, the United States House of Representatives passed the act, and the United States Senate is expected to consider this legislation today, March 16. While there will likely be some changes to the act as the Senate and House negotiate its terms, we can expect a final version to be enacted this week. The current version of the act includes the following:
  • The bill will create a paid sick leave benefit for Coronavirus-related absences that are not covered under an existing employer-provided paid sick leave plan. The current draft provides 80 hours of sick leave for full-time employees. Part-time employees would be eligible for paid sick leave based on the average number of hours worked over a given period of time.
  • The bill will expand the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to cover Coronavirus-related absences and add a paid component to FMLA benefits. There are many details yet to be worked out and we anticipate changes to the definition of covered employer, family member, and an expanded qualifying leave reason to include time off due to school and child care provider closures.
The above provisions apply to employers with fewer than 500 employees.
For your reference, we have also provided this summary of leave provisions sharing important details within the act. We know that there will be additional changes to the bill, and we want you to know Lincoln is preparing to operationalize these provisions to meet the needs of your employees. You can also view the text of the bill that passed the House here.
Statutory and Paid Family Leave Plan Updates
On a related note, we also wanted to provide a brief summary of Coronavirus-related impacts to state statutory disability and paid family leave plans.
California:
  • State Disability Insurance/Voluntary Disability Insurance and Paid Family Leave: The California Employment Development Department (EDD) expanded the availability of benefits under these programs to employees who are unable to work due to having symptoms or being exposed to Coronavirus or being unable to work to care for a family member who is ill or quarantined. The EDD guidance requires that medical documentation be provided to support the claim. The EDD has more information posted on its website and in their FAQ.

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