17 Mar HR 6201 update for the HOD
As reported last night, the House of Representatives passed a package of changes to H.R. 6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. While the changes were referred to as “technical” in nature, there are some significant policy changes included as an attempt to respond to the concerns of small businesses.
The package now awaits Senate consideration. We know there are several Senators who are not satisfied with the changes and are working to protect small businesses. However, pressure is mounting to complete this package and move on to the next set of issues to address the COVID-19 outbreak and its economic impact.
Last night, AVMA was among 82 business groups writing to Senate leadership to raise the concerns of small businesses across sectors. The letter urges Congress to instead provide for direct benefits to employees impacted by COVID-19, which would eliminate the administrative and financial burdens on small businesses while meeting Congress’s goal of supporting individuals impacted.
Attached you will find a summary of amended version the House passed last night. Highlights include: limiting family and medical leave to employees caring for a child, as well as restricting the benefit to a maximum $200 per day with a $10,000 aggregate total; Placing additional limits on the sick leave provisions; An expansion of the authority of the Dept. of Labor to create regulations to exempt businesses with 50 or fewer workers from both the FMLA and sick leave benefits when it would impact the viability of the business as a going concern; and Expansion of tax credits to also include qualified health plan expenses.
Please note this version is not yet final and may change based on the Senate’s approach today. AVMA will continue to keep you apprised of developments as the package advances.