The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFRCA) ends by its
terms on December 31, 2020. Many of us anticipated that the federal
government would extend the FFCRA's mandatory leave
provisions into at least early 2021 when the vaccines become more
widely available to the general public. The second stimulus bill,
which is currently on President Trump's desk for signature,
does not include an extension of the FFCRA's mandatory
leave provisions. Instead, the bill calls for an extension of
the tax credits for paid sick and family leave until March 31,
2021. In other words, employers are no longer required to provide
FFCRA leave after December 31, 2020, but if an employer decides to
continue to provide paid leave under terms of the FFCRA in 2021, it
may continue to take the available tax credits through March 31,
Employers should make a plan on how they are going to proceed in 2021 as they have several choices, such as:
- End all leave effective December 31, 2020. Employers are encouraged to communicate to all employees, including those currently on leave, of its decision to end the leave entitlement in advance of this deadline;
- Continue to allow employees to use any unused, available FFCRA leave through some time in 2021. Providing another round of 10 days/12 weeks of paid leave is not encouraged as it is unlikely to qualify for the tax credits. Instead, employees should only be entitled to any FFCRA leave they had remaining as of December 31, 2020;
- Only allow the continuation of Emergency Paid Sick Leave into 2021 so employees who contract or are exposed to the virus will not be at work but discontinue the entitlement to the much longer paid family leave.
Employers who choose to end the leave entitlement on December
31, 2020, or later are reminded that some employees may still be
entitled to leave (paid or unpaid) under other laws such as the
regular Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) or state and local laws
or company policy.
While President Trump is expected to sign this bill into law, the possibility of some additional changes still exist. In addition, it is currently unknown whether the new administration will push for any further extension of the FFCRA leave provisions (or its tax credits) once President-Elect Biden takes office.
Originally Published by Ford Harrison, December 2020
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.