FMLA Requirements Under the ARPA of 2021

fmla requirements

FMLA Requirements

FMLA requirements have been altered in the past year under new legislation, such as the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), and additional legislation has arrived. On March 10, 2021, Congress passed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, a $1.9 trillion effort that seeks to offer relief for Americans and their employers, as well as state and local governments. President Biden signed the bill into law on March 11. The bill includes both new provisions and extensions to some outlined in the FFCRA. Here, BASIC recaps some of the updates to FMLA requirements and extensions for covered employers.

Voluntary Leave Tax Credit Extended

As BASIC has previously stated, the requirements for covered employers (employers with fewer than 500 employees) to provide mandatory emergency FMLA leave expired after December 31, 2020. However, the emergency relief and omnibus package passed in December 2020 allowed covered private sector employers to voluntarily offer the same paid leave outlined in the FFCRA, which qualifies the employer for an associated tax credit for leave taken through March 31, 2021 to offset the cost of providing the leave. The ARPA extends this tax credit eligibility from March 31, 2021 to September 30, 2021.

Tax Credit Eligibility Reset

The FFCRA allowed covered employers to voluntarily offer 80 hours (or 10 days) of emergency paid sick leave and 10 weeks of paid family leave in order to qualify for the tax credit mentioned above. The ARPA resets eligibility for this emergency paid sick and family leave, meaning an employer offering these voluntary provisions can offer the full amount of emergency paid leave again beginning on April 1, 2021 to receive additional tax credit eligibility. Not only does the ARPA extend eligibility for the tax credit, it increases the emergency paid leave tax credit limit from $10,000 to $12,000.

Expanded Emergency Leave Eligibility

Not only are tax credits available for offering voluntary paid leave outlined in the FFCRA, there have been a few updates to how time taken for COVID related events are now applied to emergency and paid Federal FMLA. The following reasons are now covered under Federal emergency paid FMLA from April 1, 2021 to September 30, 2021. After September 30, 2021 Federal FMLA will return to the traditional FMLA that was administered pre-COVID.

  1. The employee obtains immunization related to COVID-19.
  2. The employee is recovering from a condition, illness or disability related to the vaccination.
  3. The employee is seeking or awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test or diagnosis (including where the employer has requested the test or diagnosis).
  4. The employee is subject to Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolations order related to COVID-19.
  5. Employee has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine related to COVID-19.
  6. Employee is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and is seeking a medical diagnosis.
  7. Employee is caring for an individual subject to an order described in 4) or self-quarantine as described in (5 above.
  8. Employee is caring for his or her child whose school or place of care is closed (or child care provider is unavailable due to COVID-19 related reasons).
  9. Employee is experiencing any other substantially -similar condition specified by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The ARPA also includes a non-discrimination provision, stating that voluntarily offered paid leave under the FFCRA must be available to all employees regardless of compensation or job class. Employers found to violate the non-discrimination provision will not be eligible for the associated tax credit.

FMLA Requirements too complex? BASIC can help!

BASIC provides FMLA Administration to clients across the country. As regulatory experts, we analyze any new legislation and ensure full compliance with new laws so that our clients can focus on running their businesses.

With BASIC’s FMLA services, we can help employers navigate the new regulations under the American Rescue Plan Act, which extends the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) employer payroll tax credits for paid sick and paid family leave for six (6) months from March 31, 2021, through September 30, 2021. While BASIC does not administrate the pay portion of these leaves, we will mail the applicable leave paperwork, process claims, and mail determination letters to the employee. Leave activity resulting from COVID-19 can be tracked in real-time through our portal and on emailed reports.

Don’t let complex regulations and time-consuming FMLA tracking slow your company down. Request a no-cost proposal from BASIC today to see how we can simplify FMLA for you.