Mercer urges more healthcare, paid leave legislation and guidance

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Side view of young woman with protective face mask in town, she standing in front at the bus stop and waiting for her transport after work.

To address the economic turmoil caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Mercer is urging Congress and the Trump administration to respond swiftly with more healthcare and paid leave legislation and regulatory guidance for American workers and their families. In a letter to key policymakers, Mercer President and CEO Martine Ferland commended the response to date, but said it’s “critical that Congress and the administration turn next to a package to help affected employers provide additional assistance to their employees.”

More action needed

While the just-enacted Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) (Pub. L. No. 116-127) incorporates many of Ferland’s recommendations, her letter advocates additional healthcare and paid leave measures for employees and plan sponsors, including:

  • Remove current compliance barriers to offering all — not just COVID-19-related — telemedicine services without cost sharing and to providing those services to all employees — not just those enrolled in their employer’s comprehensive medical plan
  • Delay employers’ reporting duties under the Affordable Care Act’s employer-shared responsibility provisions
  • Give employers greater flexibility to use electronic delivery to meet reporting and disclosure obligations
  • Clarify key aspects of the FFCRA’s emergency paid leave provisions
  • Create a nationally uniform and consistent paid leave compliance standard for multistate employers

Congress and the Trump administration are actively considering these issues as part of potential new guidance and a “Phase 3” economic aid package that could soon become law. The Department of Labor (DOL) has also launched a website soliciting input on guidance employers need to implement the FFCRA’s emergency paid leave requirements. The deadline for comments is March 29.

Related resources

Non-Mercer resources

  • Comment on needed guidance to implement FFCRA’s emergency paid leave (DOL, March 23, 2020)
  • News release, Coronavirus-related paid leave for workers and tax credits for small and midsize businesses (Treasury Department, IRS and DOL, March 20, 2020)
  • Pub. L. No. 116-127, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (Congress, March 18, 2020)

Mercer Law & Policy resources

Other Mercer resources

Geoff Manville
by Geoff Manville

Principal, Mercer’s Law & Policy Group

Dorian Z. Smith
by Dorian Z. Smith

Partner, Mercer’s Law & Policy Group

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