2021 Update - Families First Coronavirus Response Act
December 23, 2020
The emergency paid sick leave and emergency paid FMLA leave mandates of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) are set to expire on December 31, 2020. As the pandemic continues, many employers have been wondering if Congress would extend the paid leave mandates into 2021.
According to the new stimulus bill passed by Congress on December 21, 2020, the paid leave requirements of FFCRA will still expire on December 31, 2020. The bill does permit covered employers to voluntarily provide the paid leave benefits (assuming the employee still has eligible leave remaining) under FFCRA and take the corresponding tax credit through March 31, 2021. President Trump is expected to sign the bill into law but has asked Congress to make amendments.
It is important to note that the bill does not provide any new/additional FFCRA leave in 2021. If an employee has not used their FFCRA allotment by December 31, 2020, the employer may allow the employee to use any remaining eligible leave until March 31, 2021 and obtain a tax credit for those payments. Click here to review the paid leave requirements under FFCRA.
What should employers do if the bill is signed into law?
- Decide if you want to extend leave and communicate your decision to your employees. If the decision is made to extend leave, employers should do so in a consistent and nondiscriminatory manner.
- Contact your accountant to understand the tax credits fully.
- If you are an FMLA-covered employer, make sure you understand the regular FMLA leave that may still be available to an eligible employee.
- Be aware of any state and/or local laws passed in recent months that require the payment of sick leave for COVID-19 related reasons.
- Check the Department of Labor's Q&A website for expected updates to the detailed FFCRA.
This is an ever-changing situation and we anticipate additional developments from Congress in 2021. Be sure to check back for updates. Please contact Laura Stover with any questions.