A large share of the restaurant employees sickened by COVID-19 will be entitled to 10 days of paid leave under an emergency relief bill that was signed into law last night by President Trump.
The aid will be required of all employers with fewer than 500 people on their payrolls. Businesses with 50 or fewer employees can request a waiver. They have the burden of showing that the economic impact would be a threat to their continued operation.
Extended paid leave to care for a sick family member was also included in the bill, which is expected to cost $104 billion. Persons who qualify would be entittled to two-thrids of their regular pay for the time they are out.
The legislation does not specify how the number of employees should be computed--whether it's based on a straightforward head count, or on a full-time equivalent (FTE) basis.
The measure enacted Wednesday night is the first of what’s expected to be an outpouring of Congressional bills aimed at supporting the economy, assisting small businesses in particular, extending relief to victims of the economic downturn and providing all Americans with relief money. Subsequent bills are already in the works, with price tags of $500 billion to $1 trillion.
The relief bill was passed on the same day the National Restaurant Association asked for several hundred billion dollars in federal help specifically for restaurants, including $145 billion in direct relief payments to help operators pay their staffs.
The bill that passed by a rare bipartisan vote, 90-8, was actually drafted at the end of last week, before worsening conditions prompted dozens of states to suspend dine-in service. Restaurants in 29 states have been limited to delivery and takeout service.
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