Episode 113: Families First Coronavirus Response Act

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In The Episode

New laws and actions keep arising due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. In this episode, we discuss the Families First Coronavirus Response Act aimed at helping businesses that have been impacted by the outbreak. Tune in to learn what this Act is, what it does, and who’s going to pay for it.

What does this mean for you:
Families First Coronavirus Response Act

President Trump signed the second coronavirus emergency aid act on March 18, 2020. With a large support from the Senate, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act not only acknowledges the growing health and economic crisis, but provides paid sick leave, free COVID-19 testing, expanded unemployment benefits and food for children who normally depend on school meals. 

Here’s what this new act means for you and your family:

Emergency leave

This act requires employers with fewer than 500 employees to provide 2 weeks of paid sick leave if an employee falls into 1 of the following categories:

  1. Employee who is unable to work because they are practicing quarantine or social distancing

  2. Employees who is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19

  3. Employee is caring for someone who is in quarantine or practicing social distancing

  4. Employee who has children whose schools have closed 

Although there is no specific language about a delay in payments to employees, the presumption is that pay would happen in the normal cycle within each company. Employers themselves will receive tax credits to offset the costs of providing this emergency leave. Those self-employed will also receive tax credits to help. Additionally, an employer can not require employees to use their paid time off during this time.

If your employer does not pay you and you fall into 1 of these categories, you may be entitled to full compensation. If you have questions and would like legal advice, please contact us at (727) 441-9030

Free testing

The Health Provision section of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act makes testing for the coronavirus FREE to the public. This means there will be no copays or deductibles. Costs for the testing will be covered by either insurance or government programs. This will be made possible by providing the National Disasters Medical System $1 billion for testing costs that will not be covered by health insurance. Additional money will be provided for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and members of Native American Tribes for testing.

Lastly, this act includes a temporary increase of 6.2% for federal payments to Medicaid to better assist the states. The Children’s Health Insurance Program, which is for low-income children, will temporarily include coverage for diagnostics products.

Unemployment aid

The Family First Coronavirus Response Act will boost unemployment benefits with nearly $1 billion in state grants. Because a large number of employees will be laid off due to the coronavirus shut down, the need for unemployment benefits will grow exponentially.

Nutrition assistance

Approximately $1 billion dollars is being provided to those who rely on school meals and to those without food security. Half of this amount will go towards funding the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC). This will allow emergency food assistance through Sep. 30, 2021.This act will suspend the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program’s work requirements to allow more children to receive food. Assistance for U.S. territories such as Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and American Samoa will also be provided with a $100 million budget for nutritional assistance grants.

Additional information can be found on our podcast Peter’s Proffer. You can listen to Episode 113: Families First Coronavirus Response Acton iTunes, SoundCloud or Spotify. We also recommend checking out Episode 112: Presidential Emergency Declarations and Episode 109: China & the Coronavirus for more relevant information. 

Sprunt, Barbara. “Here’s What Is In The ‘Families First’ Coronavirus Aid Package Trump Approved.” NPR, NPR, 19 Mar. 2020, www.npr.org/2020/03/19/818322136/heres-what-is-in-the-families-first-coronavirus-aid-package-trump-approved.

Families First Coronavirus Response Act, Public Law No: 116-127, Mar. 2020, https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/6201/text 

“What’s in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act?” NEA Today, 19 Mar. 2020, >neatoday.org/2020/03/19/the-families-first-coronavirus-response-act/.

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