While all eyes were on President Trump and the Congressional leadership to see if they could agree to increase the COVID-19 relief checks from $600 to $2,000, most missed a very important development for employers in the new $900 billion stimulus relief law: the Congress and the President declined to extend the mandated Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) leave into 2021. By failing to agree to an extension, Congress and the President let the mandatory FFCRA leave requirement expire on December 31, 2020, rather than extend it.
FFCRA required certain employers with fewer than 500 employees to provide their employees with emergency paid sick leave (EPSL) and paid expanded family and medical leave (EFMLA). While private employers may continue to provide EPSL and EFMLA leave on a voluntary basis, the federal government no longer requires these types of COVID-19 related employee leave programs after December 31, 2020.
While the new pandemic relief measure did not extend the mandated FFCRA leave requirement, the new law will provide some tax relief for voluntary leave programs. Private employers subject to FFCRA may claim the same tax credit associated with the now defunct FFCRA leave requirement that they voluntarily provide to their employees between January 1, 2021 and March 31, 2021. If FFCRA-covered employers voluntarily provide paid leave up through the end of March 2021, they may take the same tax credit for the leave that was available prior to the FFCRA’s expiration.
Should you have any questions on the information provided, please do not hesitate to contact our office.