From April 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (the “FFCRA”) required employers to provide eligible employees with up to two weeks of paid sick leave and expanded leave provisions under the Family and Medical Leave Act. In return, employers were eligible to receive tax credits for payments made under the FFCRA through December 31, 2020. FOS provided previous guidance on the FFCRA, which can be found here.
Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic continues with a vengeance. Until vaccines are widely available, employees may request additional paid sick and expanded leave from employers. The mandatory nature of these family leave provisions expired December 31, 2020. Therefore, employers are no longer required to provide pandemic-related leave under the FFCRA to employees. Employers remain obligated, however, to provide leave under all traditional federal, state and local leave laws.
Employers may, depending on their financial circumstances and company culture, choose voluntarily to continue providing pandemic-related leave to employees. This decision, of course, depends on the unique financial circumstances and company culture of each employer.
For those employers who choose to continue providing such leave, the recent Consolidated Appropriations Act (the “CAA”) authorizes tax credits, but only for leave provided through March 31, 2021.
This means that employers may, but are not required to, provide FFCRA leave through March 31, 2021. If they do, they will be eligible for 2021 tax credits for wages paid with respect to such leave.
If you have any questions regarding the new tax credits, or any other legal issue, contact your FOS attorney.