Thoughts on Families First Coronavirus Response Act

Jeremy LesniakUncategorizedLeave a Comment

This article was originally an email sent to our clients concerning the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

Dear Friends,

During this challenging time, we’re going to be updating you on things we think you’ll want to know. In my role as tax planner and preparer, I’ve learned a great deal about what people are generally concerned about. I brought that knowledge to my writing with the various books I’ve written over the years, as well as our website’s blog and, now, these email announcements.

Families First Coronavirus Response Act

Last week Congress passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. As with most bills, it’s long and cumbersome, but I’ve spent a good deal of time reading through not only the bill but various expert legal opinions of the bill. Here are the key takeaways I think you should be aware of.

  • Free testing for COVID-19 for everyone, without copays or deductibles.
  • Employers with fewer than 500 employees, who cannot work or telework, are required to pay 2-weeks of sick pay to anyone forced into quarantine or isolation, showing symptoms, caring for someone quarantined or showing symptoms, or caring for children in areas where schools are closed due to Covid-19, up to a maximum of $511.00 per day. Employers will receive immediate tax credits to offset these costs. These payments to employees will not have Social Security deducted.
  • Anyone self-employed will receive a tax credit equivalent to the sick leave amount. This provision is for individuals who would qualify for sick leave if they were an employee.
  • Up to three months of paid family and medical leave. The first 2 weeks are unpaid (although you can use sick time or CTO to cover that), and then the subsequent 10 weeks are paid at 2/3 of your average weekly pay. It’s also available for part-time employees, and for any employee who has been employed by a company for at least 30 consecutive days. The expansions of the FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act) apply only to those employees who must use this leave due to Covid-19 situations. There is no expansion for any other category (caring for a sick relative, or maternity leave, for example), and where leave is taken in these situations, it remains unpaid.
  • $1 Billion to food assistance, half going to WIC.

You can read a more detailed summary here ( and find the full details on what was passed here (

And the Impact

It’s not hard to see that this bill will impact nearly everyone. There is a fair amount of responsibility placed on employers when it comes to the implementation. Some exceptions are carved out for small businesses with fewer than 25 employees where providing sick leave would cause an undue hardship on the employer.

If you have specific questions on how this may impact you or your business, please don’t hesitate to ask. We’ll do our best to answer them or, if we can’t, get you to someone who can.

Stay positive, we’ll get through this together.

You might also be interested in our information on the CARES Act