Rapid Revisions to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and New York DBL and PFL Program

Last night, the U.S. House of Representatives passed technical corrections to H.R. 6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”). The revised bill is a rewrite of the original bill containing the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act and the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act.

The FFCRA is now on its way to the Senate, which is now expected to vote on it by Wednesday and the changes will be effective 15 days after the President’s signature and sunset on December 31, 2020.

The current version of the bill:

  • limits the amount of paid sick leave to 80 hours or a 2-week period for part-time workers for:
    • leave due to the employee’s own illness or quarantine (maximum of $511 per day or $5,110 in the aggregate); or
    • care for another individual who is sick or quarantined, or time need due to a school or child care closure (maximum of $200 per day or $2000 in the aggregate);
  • limits the amount of paid family leave to 12 weeks (with the first 10 days unpaid) at 2/3 of their regular rate of pay, up to $200 per day ($10,000 in the aggregate), and restricts the purpose to leave for a school or child care closure.

Tax credits are still available under the bill for employers providing the required paid leave. The bill also has provisions to exclude employers with fewer than 50 employees and exclusions for health care providers and emergency responders. Full details of the bill can be found here.

 

NEW YORK

Meanwhile, in New York, a bill is swiftly making its way through the state legislature. If passed, this bill would provide immediate paid sick leave for most employees and also amend the New York Disability Benefits Law (NY DBL) and Paid Family Leave Law (NY PFL) to pay benefits for COVID-19-related absences where the employee cannot work or telework. This bill includes language to coordinate paid leave with any federal paid leave benefit. Finally, the bill also includes state paid sick leave requirements for reasons not related to COVID-19 absences (effective 180 days after governor’s signature), similar to paid sick leave laws passed by states and local governments over the past several years. Below is a summarized breakdown of the New York proposed bill only as it relates to COVID-19 leave. The amount of COVID-19 leave proposed in the bill is based on the employer’s size.

Businesses with more than 100 employees: Employers required to cover employee sick leave for fourteen days.

Businesses with 11 – 99 employees: Employers required to pay five days of employee sick leave.  After five days are exhausted the employee is eligible to receive NY PFL or NY DBL for the remainder of the leave.

Businesses of 1 – 10 employees and net income of $1 million or more: Employers required to pay five days of employee sick leave.  After five days are exhausted the employee is eligible to receive NY PFL or NY DBL for the remainder of the leave.

Businesses of 1 – 10 employees and net income of less than $1 million: No requirement for employer-paid sick leave but the employee can seek PFL and/or DBL benefits and any waiting period for benefits will be waived.

Notably, this bill revises the definition of paid family leave for COVID-19 leave to include both leave for the employee’s need to quarantine or to provide care to a minor child due to the need to quarantine. The proposed definition of disability for DBL benefits would include the employee’s inability to work due to a COVID-19 quarantine.

FINEOS is monitoring other states’ proposed emergency paid leaves in the past 24 hours and we are tracking those along with all leave-related legislation. This federal and state COVID-19-related legislation is moving at an unprecedented pace. FINEOS is keeping abreast of changes as they occur.

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