Legislation Requires Two Types of Paid Employee Leave

On March 18, 2020, President Trump signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (the Act) into law. The Act requires employers to provide paid leave for some employees related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, among other measures. The Act takes effect no later than 15 days after it is signed by the president.

Paid Sick Leave
Among other measures, the law requires 80 hours of paid sick leave for government workers and employees of companies with fewer than 500 employees. Compensation caps apply.

Leave would be available to workers who:

  • Are or may be sick with COVID-19;
  • Have to care for a family member with the illness; or
  • Have a child whose school or child care facility is closed (or whose child care provider is unavailable) due to the illness.

Paid FMLA Leave
The bill would also require partially paid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act when an employee is unable to work or telework due to a school or child care closure related to the coronavirus. This benefit would be available to individuals who have worked for their employer for at least 30 days.

Benefits under the law expire Dec. 31, 2020.


Health Plans Must Cover COVID-19 Testing At No Charge

On March 18, 2020, President Trump signed the second coronavirus relief measure into law – the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (Act).

Effective immediately, the Act requires group health plans and health insurance issuers to cover COVID-19 testing without imposing any cost sharing (such as deductibles, copayments or coinsurance) or prior authorization or other medical management requirements. This coverage mandate applies to the following health plans and issuers, regardless of grandfathered status under the Affordable Care Act (ACA):

  • All fully insured group health plans
  • All self-insured group health plans
  • Health insurance issuers offering group or individual coverage

This coverage mandate does NOT require health plans and issuers to cover COVID-19 treatment at no charge. Exact coverage details for COVID-19 treatment, including any cost-sharing amounts, will vary by plan.


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