FFCRA Paid Leave Requirements Not Extended; Tax Credits and Employer Aid is Extended
On Dec. 21, 2020, Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (the Act), which provides additional COVID-19 relief to individuals and businesses. The long-anticipated COVID-19 relief bill will now head to President Trump for approval or veto.
The Act does not extend requirements for employers to provide emergency paid sick leave or emergency paid family and medical leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) past the original Dec. 31, 2020, expiration date. However, Congress extended employers’ ability to utilize the FFCRA tax credit until March 31, 2021, if employers voluntarily continue to provide FFCRA paid leave benefits to their employees.
Additionally, the Act does not expand the amount of leave available to employees under the FFCRA. As such, employers cannot claim the tax credit for employees who have already utilized all of their FFCRA leave entitlement. Employers should be mindful of additional paid sick leave and paid family leave requirements under state and local laws and should continue to comply with their own paid leave policies.
The Act also provides direct payments to individuals, an expansion of unemployment insurance benefits, additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), an extension of the employee retention tax credit, and an extension of the reimbursement program for federal contractors who provide paid sick leave. The Act does not include liability or employment law protection for employers.