Extension of FFCRA Paid Leave Into 2021
The Family First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) was passed to provide temporary paid leave benefits due to the COVID-19 Pandemic for qualifying employees. The FFCRA required most private employers with less than 500 employees to provide paid leave benefits to eligible employees, and the leave benefits were effective from April 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020. The FFCRA included the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLEA) and the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA). The FFCRA provided up to 10 days of paid leave under the EPSLA for COVID-19 qualifying reasons. The FFCRA amended the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to add EFMLA as a qualifying reason for leave. The EFMLA provided up to 10 weeks of paid leave for COVID-19 qualifying reasons.
Although the FFCRA’s paid leave provisions were not extended and employers are not required to provide paid leave under the FFCRA after December 31, 2020, the Consolidated Appropriations Act (CAA) extended tax credits available to private employers that voluntarily extend FFCRA paid leave through March 31, 2021. Employers who choose to extend FFCRA paid leave must comply with the EPSLA and EFMLA requirements. The CAA does not change the total amount of paid leave that qualifying employees are entitled to take under the FFCRA. If an employee already used the employee’s full allotment of EPSLA and EFMLA paid sick leave during 2020, the employee is not entitled to additional paid leave in 2021 and there are no tax credits available to an employer who provides an employee additional leave. Only paid leave that was not used in 2020 is carried over in 2021 for employers that voluntarily choose to extend the FFCRA paid leave benefits to employees. Employers who choose to extend FFCRA paid leave through March 31, 2021 should do so for all employees. Additional liability may arise if employers choose who gets to carryover paid leave and who does not.
The FFCRA paid leave is no longer mandatory, but employers must still comply with leave requirements under FMLA, Americans with Disabilities Act, and any other leave requirements under state and local law.
Please contact Bruning & Associates, P.C. at 815-455-3000 to schedule your complimentary consultation to discuss any questions on how extending FFCRA benefits may impact your business, or whether you may be entitled to paid leave.
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