BASIC has been closely watching to see if Congress would extend the FFCRA which was set to expire on December 31, 2020. Back in March, Congress passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). Under the FFCRA, most public sector employers and private sector employers with fewer than 500 employees must provide up to two weeks of Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSLA) to employees unable to work for COVID-19-related reasons, and up to 10 weeks of paid leave under expanded Family and Medical Leave Act coverage to care for a child whose school or day care is closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Monday, December 21, the House and Senate reached agreement on an emergency coronavirus relief and omnibus package. That package clarifies that:
- Mandatory FFCRA leave ends on December 31, 2020
- As of January 1, 2021, covered private-sector employers may voluntarily provide paid leave that otherwise would have qualified for FFCRA if the FFCRA had not expired, and if they do, they may take the tax credit associated with this leave
- The tax credit may only be taken for leave through March 31, 2021
This means that private sector employers with fewer than 500 employees may voluntarily continue to provide FFCRA benefits through March 31, 2021, and when they do, they will remain eligible to take the tax credit for the leave. It is important to note that public sector employers may also voluntarily continue to provide FFCRA benefits through March 31, 2021, but are not eligible for the associated tax credits.
It’s also important for employers to recognize that under this legislation, employees are not entitled to additional FFCRA leave after December 31, 2020.
BASIC offers FMLA Administration for businesses of all sizes and complexity. Request a proposal today!