In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which among other things, required private employers with fewer than 500 full-time and part-time employees as well as most public employers to provide paid leave for COVID-19 related absences beginning on April 1, 2020. The FFCRA also provided tax credits to help offset the paid leave wages required to be paid under the FFCRA. The paid leave provisions (and tax credits) of the FFCRA were set to expire on December 31, 2020.
Yesterday, President Trump signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021. The Act did not extend paid leave obligations under the FFCRA. Thus, any requirement to offer FFCRA paid leave ends on December 31, 2020. However, the Act extended the FFCRA tax credit through March 2021 for employers that continue to voluntarily permit employees to take leave that would have been mandated by the FFCRA if the law had remained in effect through March 31, 2021. Additional discussion of the Act and its provisions regarding the FFCRA tax credit provisions can be found here.
Employers should consult with counsel regarding voluntarily providing FFCRA paid leave until March 31, 2021. Employers should further note that even if they are no longer required to provide paid leave under the FFCRA after December 31, 2020, employers may have obligations to provide paid sick leave under state and local laws and may need to provide unpaid leave as an accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act and state and local equivalent laws.
For more information on leave under the FFCRA, please see our FAQ page.