March 16, 2020

Families First Coronavirus Response Act

The bipartisan bill is the result of extensive negotiations between Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin, and is a multi-billion-dollar package that aims to bolster safety-net programs like food aid and unemployment insurance for those people whose lives are affected by the coronavirus epidemic.

More specifically, the bill:
  1. requires employers with fewer than 500 employees to provide two weeks of paid sick leave to employees affected by coronavirus, which includes not only employees who become infected with the coronavirus, but also those who have to care for someone who has become infested, those who are quarantined, and those whose place of work or children’s school is closed due to coronavirus;
  2. provides billions of dollars of aid to states for food programs and unemployment insurance benefits;
  3. requires insurance companies to cover coronavirus testing without a copay for consumers; and
  4. provides that a federal national disaster program will reimburse the cost of coronavirus testing to uninsured people.

The bill offsets the cost of its sick leave provisions by also providing a tax credit for businesses and self-employed individuals to cover sick leave. The bill also provides states with access to interest-free loans to help pay unemployment insurance benefits if needed and provides full federal funding of extended unemployment compensation for states that experience an increase of 10 percent or more in their unemployment rate.

The Families First CoronaVirus Response Act passed in the House of Representatives, and now must pass in the Senate before being presented to the President. The bill has been endorsed by President Donald Trump and is expected to pass the Senate once the chamber is back in session.

An employer having questions about how the COVID 19 threat may affect employer plans and policies should contact a Kerr Russell attorney.

Mark C. KnothImage of Mark C. Knoth, Employment and Labor attorney of Kerr Russell chairs the firm’s Labor, Employment, Employee Benefits & ERISA Practice Group. He counsels and advises business owners, managers and human resources professionals on workplace issues. These include civil rights and anti-discrimination laws; employee discipline; wage and hour; overtime; employee leaves; reasonable accommodations; veterans issues; picketing; secondary boycotts; reductions in force; drug testing; unemployment compensation; affirmative action; and union organizing campaigns, among other matters. He additionally drafts employee policies, handbooks, contracts, and covenants not to compete, and investigates threats of violence, allegations of harassment, and other employee misconduct.

Brandi Dobbs Brandi M. Dobbs is an associate at Kerr Russell who supports the business and litigation needs of clients. She focuses on bankruptcy and restructuring. Brandi has successfully guided consumer debtors through Chapter 7 and assisted business debtors through the Chapter 11 process.



Olivia HankinsonOlivia V. Hankinson counsels and advises business owners, managers and human resources professionals on various labor and employment related issues. These often involve concerns which may implicate employment laws including the Americans with Disabilities Act, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Michigan Persons with Disabilities Civil Rights Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, the National Labor Relations Act, and the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Act. Olivia represents employers with respect to unemployment insurance hearings, MIOSHA violation allegations, EEOC investigations, and other employment law matters. She also drafts employee handbooks, employment agreements, restrictive covenants, and various other employment policies.

Liam K. HealyLiam K. Healy of Kerr Russell practice clients maintain compliance with state and federal tax laws that govern individuals and businesses focuses his practice on helping clients maintain compliance with the myriad of state and federal tax laws and regulations that govern individuals and businesses. A particular focus of Liam’s practice is in the area of employee benefits and ERISA. Liam specializes in designing pension and executive compensation plans to benefit business owners and executives. His practice includes drafting and reviewing deferred compensation agreements, severance agreements and non-compete agreements, representing employers in multi-employer plan collection and withdrawal liability matters.

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