In March of 2020, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”) was passed, providing paid sick and family leave along with up to 10 weeks of partially paid family and medical leave to eligible employees who were unable to work for COVID-19 related reasons. Those provisions were scheduled to expire on December 31, 2020, leaving employers questioning, what is next?
On December 27, President Trump signed legislation with a number of key provisions that will impact both public and private sector employment in 2021. In general, the coronavirus relief package does the following:
It does not extend the mandates of the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (“EFMLEA”) or the Emergency paid Sick Leave Act (“EPSLA”) enacted under the FFCRA.
It does allow for tax credits to employers for “FFCRA like” paid leave benefits paid to employees through March 31, 2021.
It provides no economic incentive for public employers to continue paid leave benefits.
It expands upon the previously enacted CARES Act and provides for continued federal assistance to unemployed workers with supplemental weekly benefit payments of $300 and an extension of the maximum benefit period.
The FFCRA essentially becomes optional after December 31, 2020. The package allows private employers the opportunity to claim dollar-for-dollar tax credits on wages paid to employees taking leave consistent with the FFCRA framework between January 1, 2021 and March 31, 2021 under the employer’s paid leave policy. Regardless of the employer’s decision, they will need to revise, update, or eliminate existing FFCRA paid leave policies and notify employees in advance of any changes to paid leave policies.
The decision to continue offering paid leave consistent with the FFCRA is something employers need to evaluate and plan for as soon as possible. If you have questions and/or need guidance making those decisions, reach out to one of Martin Pringle’s employment attorneys for help.See All COVID-19 News