The Families First Coronavirus Response Act

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act was enacted on March 18, 2020 and took effect on April 2. The Act addresses the COVID-19 public health emergency. Employers will be required to provide limited paid leave to employees. Employers will be able to recoup some of the costs for paid leave by payroll tax credits. Health Care Plans, including insured and self-insured Taft Hartley Plans, will be required to pay for coronavirus testing. We are still analyzing the Act and some of its provisions will need time, and regulations, to fully digest and administer correctly. The most significant provisions are the following: Emergency Family and Medical Leave expansion: The Act provides employees up to 12 weeks of leave if they are unable to work (or telework) due to a public health emergency to care for a child under age 18 if the elementary or secondary school or place of care has been closed or the child care provider is unavailable due to a public health emergency. Private sector employers with fewer than 500 employees, and public sector employers are covered under the Act. Private sector employers with fewer than 50 employees can seek an exemption from coverage of the Act if it can document that the Act jeopardizes the viability of the business. The 12 weeks of leave are not additional weeks of FMLA leave. The expansion refers to the reason for FMLA (the effects of COVID-19), not additional weeks of leave. The first 10 days of leave may be unpaid but the remaining 10 weeks are paid by the employer at 2/3 of the weekly wage up to $200 per day, with a $10,000 maximum payment. The leave is paid by the employer. There is an employer payroll tax credit available to defray the cost of the payments. Emergency Paid Sick Leave: The Act requires private sector employers with fewer than 500 employees (subject to the possible fewer than 50 exemption) and public sector employers to provide paid employee sick time if an employee is unable to work if they have symptoms of Covid19, cannot work due to an isolation or quarantine order, or are advised by medical care provider to self-isolate. Up to 80 hours of paid leave are available for full time employees. Part time employees are also eligible for the benefit based upon the hours worked over the last six months. The sick leave is paid by the employer at normal rate of pay, subject subject to a maximum payment of $5,110 for quarantine or illness.

Summary of Paid Leave Options1 Family Leave Paid Sick Leave Covered Employer Private employers with fewer than 500 employees and public sector employers Qualifying Event Caring for children under 18 whose school is closed or caregiver unavailable Quarantine, illness, caring for children under 18 or another quarantined individual Length of Leave Up to 12 weeks 80 hours for full-time employees, part-time based on hours worked Benefits First 10 days unpaid; maximum 10 weeks of 2/3 pay up to $200/day, $10,000 aggregate Normal wage or minimum wage, whichever is greater, up to $5,110 for quarantine or illness; 2/3 wages for caregiving up to $2,000 Employer Tax Credit Up to $200/day, $10,000 aggregate Up to $511/day $5,110 aggregate for quarantine or illness; up to $200/day, $2,000 aggregate for caregiving Group Health Care Coverage: The Act requires Health Plans to cover services related to testing for the virus that causes COVID-19. This includes self-insured, fully insured, and grandfathered plans. The plans will have to provide coverage for diagnostic tests to detect the virus. In addition, plans will also have to pay for services to individuals during office visits that result in an order for the administration of a test to detect the virus. None of the charges for testing are subject to deductible or co-payment. The test cannot be subject to prior authorization. On the face of the Act there is nothing that allows plans to limit coverage to in-network providers but some administrators