What’s in the House Coronavirus Relief Bill for Small Businesses

by Evil HR Lady on March 16, 2020

On Friday, the House passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which is designed to give relief to people and businesses affected by Covid-19. It passed, CNN reports, after “intense negotiations between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Trump administration.” It passed by a vote of 363-40, which means it had bipartisan support. We can expect that the Senate will pass the bill (although, undoubtedly with modifications). 

It specifically amends the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), giving some key changes. The most important is that this affects all companies with fewer than 500 employees–it doesn’t have the 50 employee floor that FMLA has. However, the Department of Labor has the ability to exempt small businesses if they can show this would cause financial hardship. These changes do not affect larger businesses over 500 employees. This means that your mom and pop shop with three employees is affected, while Google is not. 

Changes to FMLA

Employment attorney Jon Hyman summarized the benefits and changes as follows

  1. It amends to the definition of employee to anyone who has been employed by an employer for at least 30 days.
  2. It changes the definition of employer from “50 or more employees” to “fewer than 500 employees.”

To keep reading, click here: What’s in the House Coronavirus Relief Bill for Small Businesses

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Cecilia Ochoa March 16, 2020 at 5:44 pm

I am confused with the bill; If I understand it correctly the bill provided paid leave after the first 14 days. Then is also provides 80 hours of paid sick leave.
So 80 hours of paid sick leave should be paid for the first 14 days at the employees regular rate of pay? After the 80 hours are exhausted the employees goes on FMLA? and gets paid for 14 days at no less than two thirds of employee regular rate?
Or should the employee be placed on FMLA at the beginning of the sick days?

Reply

grannybunny March 16, 2020 at 8:09 pm

The first 14 days is unpaid. However, the employee can substitute accrued paid leave during that time period.

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Elizabeth West March 16, 2020 at 6:10 pm

Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Apple, Big Pharma, et al do NOT need a tax break. They pay no tax as it is. They have more than enough to cover their employees.

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grannybunny March 16, 2020 at 8:10 pm

The vast majority of those large corporations already have paid sick leave, for which they already receive a tax break.

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MariaRose March 17, 2020 at 1:30 am

This article explains why the large companies of retail non-essential businesses ( like Gamestop) don’t want to close down or limit how customers roam their individual stores because they aren’t getting a tax break to close stores to protect their employees. Hopefully no one here is in a hot zone yet but the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut area will soon be under mandated quarantine and those companies will have to enforce the isolation procedures.

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jdgalt March 17, 2020 at 2:12 am

Small business people have it hard enough already. If government is going to mandate that they close, and/or that their employees keep getting paid while furloughed, then the taxpayers should pay both the employers and employees.

And I hope they won’t make the mistake of shutting down services like food delivery that will be more useful than ever with so many people staying home.

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