On December 27, 2020, President Trump signed the coronavirus relief package into law including the following provisions related to paid leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA):

  • The FFCRA paid leave benefits expiring December 31, 2020 were not extended.
  • In 2021, employers may voluntarily offer benefits similar to FFCRA paid sick and family and medical leave.
  • Private employers may receive a payroll tax credit for providing the paid leave until March 31, 2021.
  • Additional FFCRA paid leave is not being provided. Employers can allow use of benefits not utilized in 2020 including up to 80 hours for paid sick leave and up to 10 weeks of paid family and medical leave when employees are unable to work due to FFCRA covered coronavirus reasons.
  • Tax credits will not be provided for any paid leave provided in excess of the FFCRA’s limits or to employees who are not eligible for the leave.

We expect the Department of Labor to issue guidance on offering paid leave benefits similar to FFCRA in 2021.

Employers should consider whether continuing to offer these benefits makes sense for their business operations and communicate to employees on any paid leave benefits to be provided.  The decision to offer or not to offer paid leave should be applied consistently to all similarly situated employees.

The relief package also included an expansion of unemployment benefits:

  • Extension of unemployment benefits by 11 weeks for a total of 24 weeks of extended unemployment benefits. The CARES Act provided an extension of 13 weeks.
  • Federal unemployment benefits of $300 per week until March 14, 2021 for unemployed workers eligible for state unemployment and/or the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program benefits.

Need help with compliance of other HR issues? Call KMA today!