Second COVID-19 stimulus does not extend FFCRA’s paid leave requirements; Tax credits extend through March 31
On December 27, 2020, President Trump signed the Consolidated Appropriation Act, 2021. The Act, although it includes $900 billion in stimulus relief in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, does not extend the paid leave requirements of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) beyond its expiration date of December 31, 2020.
As a result, employers covered by the FFCRA will no longer be required by federal law to provide emergency paid sick leave and emergency paid family leave after December 31, 2020. The FFCRA does not entirely disappear along with 2020, however. The Act extends the FFCRA’s tax credit for covered employers until March 31, 2021, if:
- An employee still has remaining FFCRA leave balances available to use; and
- The employer voluntarily allows the employee to use up his or her FFCRA balances.
Notably, the Act does not increase the tax credits available to covered private sector employers for paid leave if the employee has already exhausted all leave up to the limits under the FFCRA. In other words, until March 31, 2021, covered private sector employers may continue to provide leave that would have been required under the FFCRA and receive a tax credit to cover the cost, so long as the employee still has such paid leave available to use.
Although the FFCRA is currently set to expire, employers must continue complying with the Family and Medical Leave Act, Americans with Disabilities Act, other state and local laws regulating leave, and any employer-provided paid leave policies. Further, as the COVID-19 pandemic is ongoing, Congress could revisit the need for federal paid leave again at a later date.