President Trump has just signed a federal coronavirus relief package - H.R. 6201: Families First CoronaVirus Response Act, into law. For the full text of the bill click here This package has several provisions to help many workers during this unprecedented crisis. Two main provisions include free testing for Covid-19 and paid emergency leave.
What does this mean for you?
First, the bill requires that testing for the virus be free to patients. This means that private health insurance as well as Medicare/Medicaid are required to pay for these costs. Additionally, those people without insurance are also entitled to receive free testing for the virus.
Further, the bill will provide workers two weeks of paid sick leave for employees “unable to work (or telework) due to a need for leave.” This has been defined as including individuals who have displayed symptoms and are being tested for the coronavirus, and those who have received a positive diagnosis. This also includes people who have been told to self-quarantine because they have been exposed to someone with the virus or are exhibiting symptoms of the illness such as a fever, cough and respiratory difficulties. Employees under mandatory quarantine by federal, state and local direction are also included. Parents who are required to care for children affected by school closings due to the virus are covered as well.
The amount of pay workers will receive will be based on their regular rate of pay and has been capped at $511/day. If you are required to stay at home because a family member has the illness, or your child’s school has been closed, you will be entitled to receive up to two-thirds of your daily take home pay, not to exceed $200.
Are all employees covered?
This bill applies to employers with less than 500 employees, with the assumption that larger employers provide paid sick leave to their employees. Part-time employees will also be entitled to paid sick leave, with the amount dependent upon how many hours/days they typically work in a 2-week work period. The hope is that many employees who work for small businesses will be able to take paid sick leave which they previously were not afforded.
When will the bill take effect?
The bill is set to take effect within 15 days of enactment and will remain in effect through the end of 2020.
If you have any questions about the Coronavirus Relief bill, or any other concerns regarding your employment rights and medical leave, please contact the experienced Atlanta employment attorneys at Buckley Beal for a confidential case evaluation.