UPDATE – March 18, 2020 – 5:00 p.m.:
On the afternoon of Wednesday, March 18, the U.S. Senate approved the House-passed Families First Coronavirus Response Act (HR-6201) in a 90-8 vote. The bill will now be sent to the White House for the signature of the President, who has indicated willingness to sign the bill into law. It appears that the Senate passed the version approved by the House on Monday with technical corrections without any changes. Scott’s legislative affairs team is reviewing the bill and will provide a detailed summary of the law.
UPDATE – March 18, 2020 – 8:00 a.m.:
On March 16, the U.S. House of Representatives passed certain updates to Saturday’s Families First Coronavirus Response Act. While passed as technical corrections, some changes appear to be potentially significant. Notable changes are as follows:
- The original House bill provided paid family medical leave for up to 12 weeks for certain employees who are quarantined or seeking diagnosis of coronavirus, caring for an at-risk family member, or caring for a child whose school or place of care has been closed. The altered bill appears to provide paid sick leave for up to 2 weeks for those who are quarantined or caring for an at-risk family member. Only those caring for out-of-school children are eligible for an additional 10 weeks of paid family medical leave.
- Furthermore, healthcare workers and emergency responders may or may not be eligible for either of the above provisions at the discretion of the Secretary of Labor.
As a reminder, the bill has yet to pass the Senate and may be subject to further revisions. We will provide a summary of the final bill once signed into law.
During the early morning hours of March 14, 2020, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (HR 6201). The bill will require a technical correction in the House on Monday morning and will then head to the Senate where it is expected to pass sometime early in the week. President Trump has already committed to signing it into law. In addition to dealing with immediate public health challenges, it includes a wide array of provisions, including a requirement around COVID – 19 testing coverage, a paid leave requirement and expansion of FMLA for employers under 500 related to coronavirus.
There was quite a bit of discussion around COVID – 19 testing last week. This bill takes the coverage requirement a step further than most carriers had last week, by requiring not only the testing be covered with no cost sharing, but also the cost of a provider, urgent care center and emergency room visit that is a part of the testing. Below is some details from the bill summary: Continue reading