Families First Act Signed Into Law: How This Affects SMART Members

Published: March 25, 2020

Last updated on March 27th, 2020

On March 18, 2020, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act was signed into law, marking the second major legislative initiative to address COVID-19 (the first was signed on March 6 and provided emergency funding relief for domestic and global efforts). The Families First Act addresses the domestic outbreak, focused on paid sick leave.

The Act takes effect April 2, and provisions run through Dec. 31, 2020.

Below is how the Act will effect SMART members and their families. Please note that the sick leave portion of this legislation only effects employers with less than 500 workers.

Two Week Paid Sick Leave For Care of Family Members

Who gets it? Workers with family members affected by coronavirus and those whose children’s schools have closed. The number of people affected by school closures has so far run into many millions.

What does it pay?  These workers will receive up to two-thirds of their pay, though that benefit is limited to $200 a day. That would cover two-thirds of the typical daily wage of someone earning up to about $75,000 annually.

How long does it last? This benefit lasts up to a total of 12 weeks, including two weeks of sick leave. Note that many schools could be closed through the end of the year.

How does this effect employees who work under multi-employer bargaining agreements?  Under multi-employer bargaining agreements, employers may satisfy their obligations regarding the paid sick leave and extended FMLA provisions by making contributions to a multi-employer fund that permits such contributions and allows for employees to obtain these benefits through the fund. If such an arrangement is not in place, individual employers are still obligated to provide paid sick leave and extended FMLA benefits under the legislation.

Two Week Paid Sick Leave for Ill Or Quarantined Workers

Who gets it?   Only people being tested or treated for coronavirus or have been diagnosed with it. Also, eligible would be those who have been told by a doctor or government official to stay home because of exposure or symptoms.

What does it pay? Payments will be capped at $511 a day, roughly what someone making $133,000 earns annually.

Who pays for it? According to the IRS, employers will receive 100% reimbursement for paid leave. Health insurance costs are also included in the credit. Employers face no payroll tax liability for these leave hours paid. An immediate dollar-for-dollar tax offset against payroll taxes will be provided. Where a refund is owed, the IRS will send the refund as quickly as possible.