Employers Can Extend FFCRA Leave Through March 31 and Earn Tax Credit
The mandatory paid leave requirements under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) expired on December 31, 2020, but employers may voluntarily choose to provide paid leave benefits to their employees through March 31, 2021.
On December 27, 2020, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, was signed into law, providing for much anticipated and needed COVID-19 stimulus relief. Employees’ entitlement to paid leave under the FFCRA was allowed to expire, but the new law extended FFCRA’s payroll tax credit for employers who choose to provide their employees with paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave for reasons related to COVID-19, through March 31.
Under the FFCRA, employees who were unable to work or telework due to COVID-19 related reasons (i.e., have been advised by healthcare provider to self-quarantine or are experiencing symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis) were allowed up to two (2) weeks of paid sick leave. Employees were also allowed up to 10 weeks of paid family and medical leave to care for their children whose school/place of care/caregiver is closed or unavailable because of a declared public health emergency (at two-thirds of their regular pay rate).
With the infection rate unabated and continued need to control the spread of the virus, many employers may look to voluntarily continue their compliance with the paid leave requirements, and have the government pay for it. Information on claiming the refundable tax credits for qualified leave can be found on the IRS website at http://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/new-employer-tax-credits.