FFCRA Extended Again
Last week, President Biden signed into law the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (Act). The Act contained several important benefits regarding the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). As you may recall, the FFCRA – which was enacted in March 2020 -- implemented emergency paid sick leave and family law benefits for employers with less than 500 employees.
The FFCRA’s mandate ended December 31, 2020, although late last year employers were given the option of continuing to provide qualified leave (and receive payroll tax credits) through March 31, 2021. The Act further extends this option, now through September 30, 2021. The Act also adds three reasons to the FFCRA’s original reasons for providing qualified leave: (1) an employee is seeking or awaiting the results of a diagnostic test for, or a medical diagnosis of, COVID–19 and such employee has been exposed to COVID–19 or the employee’s employer has requested such test or diagnosis, or (2) the employee is obtaining immunization related to COVID–19 or (3) the employee is recovering from any injury, disability, illness, or condition related to such immunization. Perhaps even more importantly, employees can obtain an additional two weeks of paid sick leave beginning April 1, 2021, even if they had previously taken paid sick leave. The amount of paid family leave was also extended to 12 weeks instead of the previous 10 weeks.
Again, employers are not obligated to provide this leave. If they do provide this leave, however, they need to provide it to all employees. And the leave benefits expire – at least at this time – on September 30, 2021.
Be safe and stay the course. And of course, let us know if we can help.