Trump Signs Families First Coronavirus Response Act

Overview


President Trump signed into law on Wednesday night the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (the “Act”) following a 90-8 vote by the Senate earlier in the day. The Act provides paid sick leave to American workers affected by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) in a variety of ways.

In Depth


President Trump signed into law on Wednesday night the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (the “Act”) following a 90-8 vote by the Senate earlier in the day. The Act provides paid sick leave to American workers affected by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) in a variety of ways.

The Act includes the following important benefits effective not later than April 2, 2020:

  • An emergency paid sick leave benefits program for employees taking paid leave
  • A requirement for certain large employers to offer paid sick leave
  • A tax credit against payroll taxes for employers offering paid sick and paid family and medical leave
  • Expanded unemployment benefits for workers losing their jobs because of COVID-19
  • Grants to states to cover processing and paying claims

The Act provides for COVID-19 diagnostic testing at no cost to consumers, makes personal respiratory protective devices eligible for certain liability protections, and temporarily increases the Medicaid federal medical assistance percentage (FMAP). It also includes emergency appropriations for select nutritional assistance programs, suspends the work requirements for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), permits states to request waivers to provide emergency SNAP benefits, and relaxes requirements for the school meals program.

Policymakers are considering additional economic stimulus measures, and there is cautious optimism that additional legislation will be enacted shortly to help avert economic hardships that are arising due to business shutdowns. A Treasury memo proposes a $1 trillion stimulus and relief package, including direct cash payments to individuals, targeted secured lending for especially impacted industries such as airlines, small business interruption loan guarantees, and the use of the Exchange Stabilization Fund to guarantee money market mutual funds. A group of Democratic senators led by Cory Booker (NJ), Michael Bennet (CO) and Sherrod Brown (OH) proposed immediate cash payments of $2,000 per adult and child, subject to a phase-out for high-income taxpayers, with automatic quarterly follow-on payments triggered by macroeconomic performance.