News from Representative Larson

Dear Friends,

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to alter our daily lives and affect our community, I wanted to share with you information about new federal paid sick and family leave benefits available to many of you during this difficult time. 

Throughout my career, I have been an ardent supporter of paid family and medical leave. I authored the nation’s first Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) while serving in the Connecticut Senate. Today, I’m proud to be a supporter of the FAMILY Act, which would create a nationwide paid FMLA program.

On March 16th, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act was signed into law, which gives some employees access to coronavirus related paid sick and family leave. The Internal Revenue Service has released guidance for businesses and non-profits  to pay for these benefits for their employees, available here. The U.S. Department of Labor has released information detailing who qualifies, what benefits workers are entitled to, business exemptions, and more available here.

Here are some frequently asked questions my office has received:

What paid leave is guaranteed under the Families First Act?

Under the paid sick leave mandate, eligible employees are guaranteed ten days of sick leave at 100% wage replacement (up to $511 per day) if they are quarantining under the advice of a health care provider or government order or seeking a medical diagnosis related to Covid-19.

Additionally, workers are able to use these ten days to receive two-thirds wage replacement (up to $200 per day) if they are caring for an individual under quarantine or to care for a child whose school or childcare provider is closed.

Under the paid expanded family and medical leave mandate, workers are guaranteed ten weeks of leave at two thirds wage replacement (up to $200 per day) in order to care for a child whose school or daycare provider is closed.

Please see the Department of Labor Fact Sheets for full information on worker’s leave rights.

Which employees are eligible for the sick and paid leave?

These leave mandates apply to most businesses with under 500 employees, as well as government employees. Exceptions include:

  • Businesses with under 50 employees who have applied for an exemption. These businesses are not required to provide paid sick leave to care for children whose school or daycare is closed. They also are not required to provide paid expanded family and medical leave.
  • Employers of health care workers and emergency responders may exempt certain employees from paid sick leave and paid expanded family and medical leave.

Will employers be reimbursed for the cost of providing this leave?

Private employers are reimbursed for the cost of providing all mandated leave through a payroll tax credit. For more information, see the guidance provided by the IRS. Public employers are not eligible for reimbursement.

Are self-employed individuals eligible for sick and paid leave?

Yes. Self-employed workers are eligible for equivalent benefits, delivered through the tax code. For more information, see IRS guidance.

 

Thank you for taking the time to read this update. If you need any additional assistance, please do not hesitate to send me an email here, call my Hartford Office at 860-278-8888, or check out my COVID-19 resource page here.

 

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Regards,
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John B. Larson
Member of Congress

 

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