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Trump Signs Law:  U.S. Workers Get Expanded FMLA Leave and Paid Sick Leave

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R. Douglas Taylor, Jr.
March 19, 2020

Yesterday, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (the “Act”) became law when President Donald Trump signed it. The Act will provide significant relief to a wide swath of workers across the country, in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency. In particular, the Act provides millions of U.S. workers with up to twelve weeks of FMLA leave (the “FMLA Expansion Act”), with most of it paid, and as much as two weeks of paid sick leave (the “Paid Sick Leave Act”) for personal or family reasons relating to the COVID-19 outbreak. Both provisions are summarized below.

Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (“FMLA Expansion Act”)

When does the FMLA Expansion Act take effect; when does it end?

Which employers are covered by the FMLA Expansion Act?

Which employees are eligible for expanded FMLA leave?

What is a “qualifying need” for leave related to a public health emergency under the FMLA Expansion Act?

How much leave under the FMLA Expansion Act is paid leave?

Do employees still have the right to be restored to the position they held prior to taking leave under the FMLA Expansion Act?

How is the paid FMLA leave funded?

Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (“Paid Sick Leave Act”)

Which employees are eligible for paid sick leave?

Which employers are subject to the requirements of the Paid Sick Leave Act?

When does the Paid Sick Leave Act become effective; when does it end?

What events or circumstances trigger employer paid sick leave under the Paid Sick Leave Act?

How much paid sick leave is available to an employee under the Paid Sick Leave Act?

Can paid sick leave under the Paid Sick Leave Act be carried over from one year to the next?

What is the rate and total amount of pay for paid sick leave?

What effect does the Paid Sick Leave Act have on Employers with Existing Paid Leave Policies?

Does the Paid Sick Leave Act penalize employers who violate the above requirements?

Do employers have to post workplace notice of the requirements of the Paid Sick Leave Act?

Will employers be out-of-pocket for paid sick leave provided to employees under the Paid Sick Leave Act?