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House Revises Emergency Paid Sick Leave and Emergency FMLA Expansion Act

Labor & Employment Publications

Yesterday, we informed you that the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Families First Coronavirus Act, which requires employers with fewer than 500 employees and government employers to provide paid sick leave and paid FMLA benefits to certain employees affected by coronavirus. Last night, the House approved “technical corrections” to the bill that place monetary caps on the paid leave available to employees and eliminate several categories of paid FMLA leave. A summary of key changes is below. For a detailed review of the changes to the bill, please see our updated summary Emergency Paid Leave Summary 2020 (Updated for Tech Corrections).

Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act:

The changes to this Act include:

  • Employers of health care providers or emergency responders may exclude such employees from entitlement to emergency paid sick leave.
  • Paid sick leave is capped at $511 per day ($5,110 in the aggregate) for employee-related conditions/reasons for leave. When caring for others or to attend to a child whose school/place of care is closed, there is $200 per day maximum ($2,000 in the aggregate). These caps appear to be aimed at reducing the financial burden on employers.
  • The reasons for leave have been updated to remove all references to the term “family member.” Employees may now take leave to care for an individual affected by coronavirus.

Emergency FMLA Expansion Act:

The changes to this Act include:

  • Employees are only entitled to take leave under this Act if their child’s school/place of care is closed, or the child’s child care provider is unavailable, due to coronavirus. Originally, employees were going to be permitted to take off for their own coronavirus-related limitations or to care for a family member with such limitations. (Some employees may still qualify for FMLA leave under the existing law, but would not be eligible for paid FMLA benefits under the new act.)
  • The technical revisions reduce the number of days an employee is potentially unpaid at the beginning of his or her FMLA leave to 10 days from 14 days.
  • Employers of health care providers or emergency responders may exclude such employees from entitlement to emergency paid sick leave.
  • Paid leave is capped at $200 per day and $10,000 in the aggregate. As with paid sick leave, these caps appear to be aimed at reducing the financial burden on employers.