President Trump Signs COVID-19 Legislation
March 20, 2020
President Donald Trump signed H.R. 6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, into law on Thursday, March 19. The act provides economic relief to individuals impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak, including emergency sick leave and family leave.
National Association of Home Builders chairman Dean Mon responded to the Senate passage of the bill: "NAHB commends the Senate for acting quickly to help combat the coronavirus pandemic by approving paid and sick family leave for Americans who are testing for COVID-19 or suffering from the virus. The legislation also includes important tax credits to help employers and self-employed individuals defer added costs related to these mandates. The job is not finished. This outbreak is quickly spreading to all sectors of the economy. Congress needs to begin work on a future aid package that addresses the needs of the nation's small business community, including the housing sector."
According to a blog post on NAHB, major provisions include:
Emergency Paid Sick Leave
Businesses with fewer than 500 employees must provide qualified employees with two weeks of paid sick leave if they are unable to work or telework because:
- They are quarantined pursuant to federal, state or local requirements
- Have been advised by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine
- Are caring for an individual subject to the aforementioned reasons
- Experiencing symptoms of COVID-19
- Caring for child if school or daycare has been closed because of COVID-19 precautions
- Experiencing any other "substantially similar condition" specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services in consultation with the Secretary of Treasury and the Secretary of Labor.
Employers must cover 100 percent of typical wages, but not to exceed $511 per day for the first, second or fourth reasons listed above. The amount is capped at $200 per day for the other reasons. This leave is in addition to benefits employees already have. Full-time employees are eligible for 80 hours.
Emergency Family and Medical Leave
Businesses with fewer than 500 employees and must provide qualified employees up to 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave. This provision expands on the existing Family and Medical Leave Act. The first 10 days of leave may be unpaid, although employees may elect to use other available leave. After 10 days, the employer must provide paid leave, which is capped at $200 per day and $10,000 in aggregate per employee.
For both provisions, businesses subject to the requirement are entitled each quarter to a fully refundable tax credit equal to 100 percent of the qualified sick leave or qualified paid family leave wages paid by the employer, according to a news item on the Window and Door Manufacturers Association's website.
In the near future, Congress is expected to draft a major stimulus package, which will provide economic relief to businesses impacted by the COVID-19.