COVID-19: Understanding Federal Legislation

UC Berkeley Labor Center

Part of the Labor Center’s Covid-19 Series: Resources, Data, and Analysis for California
Last updated 7/1/2020

In the coming weeks and months, the Labor Center will continually review and update this post with information on new COVID-19 legislation, regulations, analysis, and tools. See also our post on Resources on Federal and State Policy and Assistance.

Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFRCA)

On March 18, 2020, the first major federal financial package on the Coronavirus pandemic was signed into law. FFCRA provides paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave to some workers, funds nutritional assistance, and establishes free testing for COVID-19.

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Summary of Key Provisions from the Kaiser Family Foundation summarizes key bill components, which cover nutritional assistance, paid family/medical leave, paid sick leave, insurance coverage of coronavirus testing, and the first round of federal emergency grants to states for unemployment insurance.

COVID-19 and the American Workplace from the U.S. DOL Wage and Hour Division offers the most comprehensive and authoritative resource on sick leave and paid family/medical leave under FFCRA. Includes fact sheets on employee paid leave rights and employer paid leave requirements, in both English and Spanish.

COVID-19 Wage Replacement Webinar, Powerpoint Deck, and Cheat Sheet in English and Spanish, from labor law firm Weinberg Roger & Rosenfeld, provide an accessible, high-level overview of FFRCA and California wage replacement laws


Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act

The second major federal relief package for the COVID-19 pandemic, the $2 trillion CARES Act includes direct payments to American taxpayers, extended and increased unemployment benefits, a new unemployment assistance program for self-employed workers, small business relief, and more.

Democrats Release Q&A on Coronavirus Response, Recovery Bill, compiled by the U.S. Democratic Senate committee staff, provides comprehensive information on the CARES Act in Q&A format for individuals; businesses; the health care system; education institutions; state, local and tribal information; and veterans.

Provisions Related to Unemployment Compensation in the Senate-passed CARES Act, from the U.S. House Committee on Ways & Means, is a detailed FAQ on the bill’s unemployment assistance programs. Includes information on short-time compensation (work-sharing).

The Two Trillion Dollar “Cares Act” Webinar, Powerpoint Deck, and Cheat Sheet from labor law firm Weinberg Roger & Rosenfeld provide an accessible, high-level overview of provisions that directly and indirectly benefit workers, including unemployment benefits and business aid tied to keeping workers on payroll.