Timmons Highlights Small Business Concerns with H.R. 6201, Presses Leadership to Reconsider Approach

March 16, 2020
Press Release

Washington, DC — Congressman William Timmons released the following statement after the House of Representatives passed H.R. 6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act:

“In the early morning hours of Saturday, the House voted on and passed a bill to address the growing threat of the spread of coronavirus. This bill contains numerous provisions that I supported, such as funding for more diagnostic testing and increased assistance for our most vulnerable, such as senior citizens and those in rural and underserved areas. However, the mandatory paid sick leave provision, while well intentioned, would have a devastating effect on our country’s small businesses, including those in South Carolina. Unfortunately, my concerns have been confirmed by numerous small business owners and employment lawyers throughout South Carolina and across the country.

“This bill requires that businesses with fewer than five hundred employees provide fourteen days paid sick leave to any employee that is 1) sick with COVID-19, 2) caring for a loved one who is infected, or 3) taking care of a child whose school or child-care provider is closed due to the coronavirus. After those initial two weeks, an employer is required to then provide an additional ten weeks of paid leave at 2/3rd’s of that employee’s pay. Governor McMaster just announced that all schools in South Carolina will be closing through the end of the month, so this law will affect virtually every South Carolinian.

“Now, while the bill does include provisions that allow a business to receive a 100% refundable tax credit, it puts the burden on the small business to front those costs. This will be devastating to most small businesses and could force some to close their doors permanently. Additionally, this bill would take effect fifteen days after the President signs it into law. This drastically limits the time small business owners have to educate themselves about this law and how they will be impacted.

“Earlier today, I led a letter to House Leadership with several of my colleagues raising these concerns and urging the House to take action to correct these missteps before the bill is voted on by the Senate. This legislation must be amended to ensure that employees are able to be treated and take time off to care for loved ones with the coronavirus without interruption to their paycheck. But this must be done in a way that does not shutter small businesses, thereby presenting an additional problem to those same employees this bill is intending to protect.”

Read the letter here