On December 21, 2020, a COVID-19 stimulus package was passed by both the House and the Senate. There was much speculation surrounding how provisions of the stimulus package would impact employers, including whether the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which required employers with less than 500 employees to provide paid leave to employees who could not work for COVID-related reasons, would be extended past December 31, 2020.
The final version of the bill that was passed ultimately did not extend mandated FFCRA leave past December 31, 2020. However, the final bill stated that covered employers could voluntarily provide paid leave similar to what was outlined in the EPSLA or the EFMLEA, and receive a tax credit for this leave. Employers would only receive the tax credit for leave taken through March 31, 2021. School districts, as tax-exempt entities, are not eligible for the tax credit for any voluntary paid leave provided.
With the expiration of the FFCRA, employers should consider whether they will continue to offer any type of paid leave to employees who are unable to work due to COVID-related reasons. Employers should analyze how much, if any, leave to offer employees; how much, if any, of the leave will be paid; and how to continue to mitigate risks for employee safety and well-being. As part of this assessment, consider that the purpose of a paid leave would be to incentivize people who were symptomatic or exposed to COVID to stay home to protect other employees.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.
- Amy L. Reasner and Emily K. Ellingson