Select Provisions in House Passed HR 6201
HR 6201: Paid Sick Leave
The measure expands both the paid sick leave and unemployment insurance programs as individuals affected by the coronavirus are now front and center of the news cycle. Specifically, the measure would provide tax credit to employers to offset costs of providing emergency sick leave. It also requires insurers, Medicare, Medicaid and other federal health programs to fully cover testing and related services to individuals.
The measure creates an emergency paid sick leave program to directly respond to the outbreak. Private-sector employers with fewer than 500 workers and government entities would have to provide 12 weeks of job-protected leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act for employers who to have to:
- Comply with a requirement or recommendation to quarantine because of exposure to or symptoms of the virus.
- Provide care to a family member who’s complying with such a requirement/recommendation.
- Provide care for a child younger than 18 years old whose school or day care has closed because of the virus.
Full-time employees would now receive 80 hours of sick leave under the new emergency leave program and part-time workers would be granted time off equivalent to their scheduled or normal work hours. Subsequently, employers with similar existing paid sick leave policies could not require a worker to use any other available paid leave before using the sick time. Employers are prohibited from the following:
- Requiring a worker to find replacement coverage for their hours during their time off.
- Discharging or discriminating against workers for requesting such paid sick leave.
HR 6201: Unemployment Insurance
The emergency bill would provide as much as $1 billion for emergency transfers to states to pay for unemployment benefits. Each state would receive a proportional amount based on the share of federal unemployment insurance taxes paid by its employers. States would receive half of their allocation within 60 days of the bill’s enactment if they certify they meet certain requirements, such as ensuring that workers can apply for benefits online or by phone.
States would receive the remaining funds if their unemployment claims increased by at least 10% over the same quarter in the previous year. They would have to waive certain eligibility rules for claimants and charges for employers affected by Covid-19.
States could modify certain unemployment policies, including rules related to job searches and initial payment waiting periods, on an emergency temporary basis to address the effects of COVID-19.
Eligible laid-off workers can receive regular unemployment benefits for as long as 26 weeks in most states.
After exhausting those benefits, individuals in states with rising unemployment can qualify for an additional 13 weeks of benefits—or 20 weeks in some states—through the Extended Benefits program.
The bill would waive a state matching requirement and provide full federal funding for the Extended Benefits program for the rest of 2020. To qualify, states would need to experience a 10% spike in unemployment claims over the past year and qualify for a full emergency funding transfer under the measure.