President Donald Trump has signed a coronavirus relief bill including paid leave benefits and credits that count against employers’ payroll tax to offset the cost.

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which the congressional Joint Committee on Taxation estimates will cost $104 billion, went to the president’s desk on Wednesday after the Senate passed it on a 90-8 vote.

The measure “makes emergency supplemental appropriations and other changes to law to help the nation respond to the coronavirus outbreak,” Trump said.

Under the bill, businesses with fewer than 500 employees are required to provide employees with two weeks of sick leave paid at their the regular pay rate or at no less than two-thirds the regular rate depending on whether the employee needs to take care of their own health or a family member’s.

Employers will have to front the costs but will be fully reimbursed by the federal government within three months through refundable tax credits that count against employers’ payroll tax.

Companies with fewer than 50 employees are eligible for a waiver if the paid sick leave would jeopardize business viability. That category would cover employers of about 12 million private sector workers.

Paid Leave for All Director Dawn Huckelbridge was disappointed more workers won’t be eligible for paid leave but still saw it as a positive first step toward more inclusive legislation.

“We do know that this bill does leave out millions but it does still cover millions,” she told Time. “And every day that workers aren’t able to stay home, we’re losing time and we’re losing lives.”

As The Hill reports, the bill sparked fierce opposition from some Senate Republicans, who were concerned in particular that the paid sick leave provisions would hurt small businesses. But Majority Leader Mitch McConnell stood behind it.

“This is a time for urgent bipartisan action and, in this case, I do not believe we should let perfection be the enemy of something that will help even a subset of workers,” he said.

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9 responses to “Trump Signs Virus Relief Bill With Paid Sick Leave”

  1. What about people that were sick and missed work during February and March? Will we be covered with this bill or is this only for sicknesses acquired after this bill is effective? Many people will not benefit from this if it only covers sickness moving forward and not the people that have already been negatively affected. Thank you

  2. So if your business is shut down with no income then how do you come up with the money for this program? If you borrow then now you have interest and fees when you have zero income.

  3. I was told to stay home for the two weeks as Disney would not allow me on to their property. I was to sick to work anyway. Now my company as a whole with all the divisions has over 1100 people. But our electrical group with in the company is running 130 people. How does this affect me or others who fall into this

  4. Does anyone know about the 500 employee count and if it applies to all employees or just those in the United States?

  5. Of all the stupid government actions during this mess, this may go down as the single dumbest, most destructive one of all. Forcing the businesses that can least afford it to pay non working employees when the company has no revenue without providing zero interest loans to cover that cost will force many, many companies to close forever.

  6. I researched what help I would get as a small business owner. I learned I could get a government backed loan if I agreed to give the money to my employees in the form of pay while my shop is closed. My question is- instead of me getting a loan that I will have to repay, why not my employees go to the bank and get their own loan?

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