Sunday, March 29, 2020

Notes on Families First Coronavirus Response Act, in reading order

Note that this law is just one of multiple new COVID-19 relief laws.

Division A
  • Section 1101.  Schools are incentivized to remain closed more days.
  • Titles II-IV, VI.  Small amounts given to agencies to be spent at the Cabinet member's discretion.
  • Title V.  $1 billion for HHS to pay COVID-19 expenses for the uninsured.
Division B

  • Titles I and II.  School lunch money is now available when school is closed "due to COVID-19."
    • This incentivizes to schools remain closed more days, especially those getting the most school lunch money.
    • Will add the learning gap between poor and affluent schools.
  • Title III.  Raise limits on the duration of time that a household can participate in SNAP/Food Stamps.
Division C
  • Section 3102.  "Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act."  Employees at small businesses are entitled to be out of work with pay if they have a child at a school or day care closed due to COVID-19.  
    • Here, a small business is less than 500 employees, but with certain exceptions for businesses less than 25 employees.
    • The duration of leave is capped at 12 weeks.
    • The pay must be at least 2/3 of normal salary, capped at $200 per day and $10,000 in the aggregate (see also here), which does not bind unless the annual salary exceeds $60K or so.
    • Even an employee who has been on the payroll only 30 calendar days (as few as 20 working days) can get the full pay for 12 weeks.
    • Employers get payroll tax credits for these payments (Division G).
    • The provision
      • sharply reduces the financial reward to work for such employees,
      • and further incentivizes schools (that are responsive to parental demands) to remain closed.
  • See also Division E, which covers the first 10 days of the leave and is not tied to children in school.
Division D
  • Section 4102.  $1 billion for state unemployment programs.
  • Section 4105.  Full Federal funding of extended benefits.  This means that employers do not have to help pay for extended benefits, and therefore amounts to an enhanced subsidy for layoffs.
Division E
  • Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act
  • Covers the first 10 days of the leave provided in Division C.
  • The child/dependent care pathway has the same pay minimums and caps.
  • Other pathways, such being in quarantine, are full salary with $511 per day cap (that is $128K annual salary).
  • Children in school closed school or daycare is not the only pathway to eligibility.
  • Also regulates employers:
    • They cannot ask sick employees to help find a replacement during their absence
    • They cannot discharge or discipline employees for either taking leave or instituting any proceeding under the Act
Division F
  • Health insurance must cover COVID-19 tests.  (Short-term plans are not considered insurance for this purpose).
Division G
  • Employers may claim payroll tax credits for moneys paid to employees under Divisions C and E.

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