Paid Leave Provisions Included in Bipartisan Federal COVID-19 Relief Package

The opera field has joined the broader arts and nonprofit sectors in speaking up out of concern for its workforce in the wake of COVID-19 closures and performance cancellations. Early this morning, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bipartisan COVID-19 relief package that includes the following:
  • Mandated emergency paid leave for employees for qualified sick leave, family and medical leave, and caring for a child whose school has closed;
  • Refundable payroll tax credits for required emergency paid leave provided by employers with fewer than 500 employees (nonprofits are eligible for relief);
  • Refundable individual tax credits for leave taken by self-employed workers for qualified sick leave, caring for a family member, or caring for a child whose school has closed;
  • Emergency funding to states for unemployment compensation;
  • Additional provisions related to nutrition assistance and cost-free COVID-19 testing provisions for the uninsured.

This reader-friendly summary outlines more details about these provisions, and the fine print is in the full bill text.

Federal agencies will be required to swiftly issue guidance and regulations detailing plans for implementation, eligibility, exemptions and record-keeping. The paid leave provisions will apply to leave taken beginning within 15 days of the bill being signed into law, starting on a date still to be identified by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. The Senate is expected to take up the bill this Monday, March 16, and the White House has signaled support.

OPERA America will provide a more detailed analysis of these provisions as additional information becomes available.

Thanks to everyone for your continued advocacy! Further relief packages are being created. We urge the opera community to continue communicating with Congress.

OPERA America has provided a page of coronavirus resources with information and tools to help navigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. We will add ongoing updates to this page, so please check back. 

Thank you, and please stay in touch with us on this ongoing issue! You can email us at

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