On March 18, 2020, the president signed into law the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). As summarized in the Council's previous Benefits Blueprint, Summary of Health Care and Leave-Related Provisions In Coronavirus Response Legislation, the FFCRA contains two leave-related provisions. This Blueprint is focused on helping private employers determine whether they may be subject to the new leave requirements – specifically, on how to apply the 500-employee threshold with respect to companies that may be part of larger controlled groups or otherwise have related companies.
The Secretary of Labor ("Secretary") is promulgating temporary regulations to
implement public health emergency leave under Title I of the Family and Medical Leave Act
(FMLA), and emergency paid sick leave to assist working families facing public health
emergencies arising out of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) global pandemic. The leave
is created by a time-limited statutory authority established under the Families First Coronavirus
Response Act, Public Law 116–127 (FFCRA), and is set to expire on December 31, 2020. The
FFCRA and this temporary rule do not affect the FMLA after December 31, 2020.
The American Benefits Council offered a forceful defense of ERISA preemption in an April 1 amicus ("friend of the court") brief filed with the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Rutledge v. Pharmaceutical Care Management Association, which has significant implications for the applicability of state law to employer-sponsored benefit plans. The Council brief was filed jointly with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Now that the federal government has enacted both the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and the "economic stimulus" Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, many employers may have questions about their obligations and potential relief in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. A new Benefits Blueprint summary, prepared by Groom Law Group, Chartered, is now available that details the group health plan requirements and paid leave provisions enacted through these measures.
The American Benefits Council is working with Capitol Hill and officials at the White House and relevant executive branch agencies to ensure that employers have what they need to maintain or adjust their employee health care coverage, retirement plans and paid leave programs. The following is a summary of the Council's analysis, activity and resources for you and your colleagues.