Congress readies Coronavirus response legislation employee leave

The U.S. Congress is working to quickly pass legislation starting to address employee and employer concerns with regard to the coronavirus public health emergency.

Early on Saturday the House passed HR 6201, the “Families First Coronavirus Response Act” by a bipartisan vote of 363-40. The House is expected to approve technical corrections to the bill sometime in the next day or two before being able to send it to the Senate for action. The bill addresses paid family medical leave, paid sick leave and unemployment insurance. If approved, the Department of Labor would issue regulations that clarify any of these paid leave provisions.

The bill would also allow employers to recover some of the expenses associated with expanded leave through specified tax credits each quarter.

While the bill has not yet been approved by the Senate, some Senators have begun to call for modifications to allow additional employer flexibility.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Sunday sent out a communication saying that further steps will be needed to directly help Americans overcome financial challenges and to secure our nation’s economy, particularly Main Street small businesses.

As HR 6201 progresses through the legislative process towards approval, Congress has already begun work on the next emergency legislative package which is expected to be centered on economic stimulus measures.

NTEA will continue to provide updates on congressional actions regarding employers, employees and possible economic stimulus or relief as they become available.