The federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”), which requires certain employers to provide paid sick and family leave for certain COVID-19-related reasons, will expire as originally intended on December 31, 2020. It was not extended by the recent stimulus bill (the “Bill”) (here).
Thus, employers are no longer required to provide this mandated paid leave. However, Section 286 of the Bill allows covered private employers who chose to provide leave consistent with the FFCRA, to claim the FFCRA tax credit for the cost of providing such leave through March 31, 2021.
To receive the tax credit, an employer must follow the current FFCRA framework, i.e., provide leave for the same qualifying reasons, pay employees as required, and obtain the required leave documentation.
Be Aware of State/Local COVID-19 Related Leave Obligations
Although the federal FFCRA leave obligation will soon end, employers should keep in mind that other localities (e.g., New York and New Jersey) have enacted COVID-19-related leave laws, or modified their existing leave laws to cover pandemic related leave, and these laws are not set to expire at year’s end.
Regardless of whether employers choose to continue providing FFCRA leave in 2021, it would be prudent for employers to consult with experienced employment counsel to explore their options when employees need leave from work.