Families First Coronavirus Response Act passed by US House of Representatives

The US government’s House of Representatives has passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), aimed at providing support to those affected by the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic.

The new act, passed on 14 March 2020, is expected to become law after it goes to the US Senate.

Under the new law, $500 million (£419 million) will be set aside to provide access to food for low-income pregnant women, or mothers with young children who lose their jobs as a result of Coronavirus. Work training requirements will also be suspended during the crisis.

Paid leave will also be enhanced. The act stated: “Eligible workers will receive a benefit for a month (up to three months) in which they must take 14 or more days of leave from their work due to the qualifying Covid-19-related reasons. Days when an individual receives pay from their employer (regular wages, sick pay, or other paid time off) or unemployment compensation do not count as leave days for purposes of this benefit.”

This sick pay will be based on two-thirds of an individual’s average monthly earnings.

Further funds amounting to $1 billion (£838 million) are to be used for emergency grants related to unforeseen unemployment issues, while $500 million (£419 million) will be set aside to provide additional funds to all states for use in staffing during the crisis.

The government has also stated that it will reimburse all small businesses with less than 50 employees, to support the high frequency of staff taking paid leave. The bill will enable construction employees to receive sick pay based on hours they work for multiple contractors.