US COVID-19: New COVID Relief Bill Extends Certain FFCRA Tax Credits, But Does Not Mandate Extension of Leave Benefits
December 23, 2020
Authored by: Christy Phanthavong and Lily Kurland
Late on December 21, 2020, Congress passed a new federal COVID relief bill, which, if signed into law, would amend a number of laws, including the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”). The FFCRA currently requires covered employers to provide eligible employees with paid sick leave and partially paid emergency family and medical leave benefits through December 31, 2020.
Notably, the new bill does not extend the FFCRA’s mandate that employers provide such leave beyond the end of the year. Instead, the new bill allows covered employers to receive a tax credit for leave that they voluntarily provide to employees from January 1, 2021 through March 31, 2021, if such leave would otherwise be covered by the FFCRA.
In practice, this means that if the new bill becomes law, under federal law:
- Employers will not be required to provide paid sick leave or partially paid emergency family and medical leave under the FFCRA beyond December 31, 2020.
- Employers may voluntarily provide paid sick leave or partially paid emergency family and medical leave under the FFCRA after December 31, 2020.
- If an employer voluntarily provides such leave benefits after December 31, 2020, they may be eligible for a tax