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Senate Approves Coronavirus Bill for Sick Leave & Free Testing
By Mariel J. Giletto, Susan S. Hodges on March 19, 2020
Senate Approves Coronavirus Bill for Sick Leave & Free Testing

The Senate approved a multi-billion dollar emergency aid package Wednesday that will provide paid sick and family leave for many Americans while also offering free testing for the coronavirus and bolstering unemployment insurance. The Senate approval comes after days of intense negotiations and maneuvers to keep broad bipartisan support for the package.  This is the second package Congress has passed to combat the coronavirus. The bill will now be sent to the White House for the President's signature.

The legislation marked the second phase of Congress' work to address the dire impacts the virus is having on American life.  This phase will provide:

  • Two weeks of paid sick and family leave to many American workers who are in quarantine, helping a family member with COVID-19 or who have children whose schools have closed. Workers will get 100% of their normal salary.
  • A total of 12 weeks of paid leave to many of those who have children whose schools have closed. Workers would get about 67% of their normal salary for this period.
  • Bolsters unemployment insurance.
  • Free testing for the coronavirus for those who need it.
  • Boosts food assistance (SNAP) and federal funding for Medicaid.

Note that the ten (10) days of paid sick leave applies to companies with fewer than 500 employees and employers with less than 50 employees can apply for a waiver.

Congress has already started working on a third stimulus package that is likely to address the needs of small businesses that are struggling due to the pandemic while also offering some type of cash assistance to Americans. There are also proposals for additional paid leave, bolstered help for the healthcare industry and relief for the airline and cruise industries. Senate leaders said they would not leave Washington until this third bill passes, which many hope will happen this week or next.

We will continue to monitor this legislation and the additional stimulus packages being considered to combat the coronavirus, and we will send updates as soon as they are available.   

Contact our Corporate or Employment Departments for more info or questions.

The content of this post is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinion. You should consult a lawyer concerning your specific situation and any specific legal question you may have.

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