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Employer Advisory Update: Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) Extension

Under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Applications Act, 2021 (the “Bill”), signed by the President on December 27, 2020, employers are no longer required to provide leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA or Act) after December 31, 2020.

While not required beyond December 31, 2020, an employer can still choose to continue to provide paid leave under the terms of the FFCRA. Employers who continue to provide this benefit may also continue to take advantage of the available tax credits, now extended through March 31, 2021 (previously December 31, 2020) per the Bill.  It is noted that employees are only entitled to any FFCRA leave they had remaining as of December 31, 2020; additional leave is not granted, nor will leave beyond the 2020 FFCRA allocation be considered for tax credit. For employers with employees working in Massachusetts, click here to learn how the FFCRA interacts with the MAPFML leave regulations.

Currently, we are still awaiting DOL guidance on the extension. However, since the FFCRA is no longer mandatory, employers will potentially have a few options to consider regarding handling ongoing FFCRA requests:

  • End all FFCRA leave effective December 31, 2020 and communicate to employees what that may mean for them regarding time off for COVID-19 related reasons. Some employees may qualify for leave under FMLA, ADA and/or other federal, state or local leaves, therefore, employers should review all other leave options that might come into play;
  • Continue to allow employees to use any unused, available FFCRA leave through March 31, 2021;
  • Only allow the continuation of Emergency Paid Sick Leave into 2021, allowing employees who contract or are exposed to the virus not to work, but discontinue the entitlement of the much longer Expanded FMLA; or
  • Consider adopting an employer provided COVID-19 sick time policy which extends above and beyond the FFCRA entitlements. This could be used for an employee who has already received FFCRA time and becomes ill or exposed again.

Employers should determine how FFCRA will be handled going forward and clearly communicate new guidelines to employees.

For more information on the FFCRA, or for additional insights and workplace resources employers can leverage in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, visit the OneDigital Coronavirus Advisory Hub. For questions, contact your local OneDigital advisor, or submit your question to us here, online.