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United States: President Signs Families First Coronavirus Response Act into Law, Making Available Emergency Supplemental Appropriations

(Mar. 19, 2020) On March 18, 2020, President Trump signed into law H.R. 6201, also known as the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. Some of the act’s key provisions include free coronavirus testing, paid sick leave for qualifying individuals, and expanded food assistance and unemployment benefits.

Under the act, some businesses are required to provide paid sick time to individuals who are unable to work as a result of caring for themselves or others due to the coronavirus, or because they are under a mandatory quarantine or isolation order. This provision applies to all public entities and private businesses with fewer than 500 employees. Full-time workers covered under this act are entitled to up to 80 hours of paid sick leave.

The funds covering this legislation have been designated as supplemental appropriations, which generally are triggered during unexpected, critical situations. This legislation follows the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020, Public Law No. 116-123, which was enacted on March 6, 2020, and allotted $8.3 billion in emergency funding for federal agencies to mitigate issues caused by the coronavirus. The executive and legislative branches are monitoring this situation and considering additional emergency spending measures.