Congress recently extended COVID-19 paid sick leave to employers covered by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The law applies to employers with less than 500 employees and certain government agencies. The extension of the law does not mandate covered employers to implement the COVID-19 paid sick leave, but employers who voluntarily offer it can receive a federal payroll tax credit.
For those employers who choose to voluntarily provide paid sick leave for COVID-19 from April 1 through September 30, 2021, here are some important changes to note:
- Employees who previously exhausted their Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA) leave will be entitled to a new set of 10 days of paid sick leave.
- In addition to a new set of paid leave, there are three new qualifying reasons for paid sick leave under EPSLA. The new reasons are:
- an employee is seeking or awaiting results of a diagnostic test or awaiting a medical diagnosis of COVID‐19 infection,
- an employee is obtaining a COVID‐19 vaccine, or
- an employee is recovering from any illness, injury or condition related to COVID‐19 immunization.
- Employees may now receive paid leave under the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (eFMLA) for any of the qualifying reasons under EPSLA, including the new reasons cited above. Additionally, employees are now eligible to receive paid leave for the entire 12 weeks of eligible eFMLA leave (previously only 10 weeks of leave were paid).
With these updates, employees will be able to receive up to 14 weeks of paid leave, 12 weeks of eFMLA leave and 2 weeks of leave under EPSLA.
The Department of Labor has not issued guidance on the FFCRA tax extension, but we do expect it to be released soon.
Questions? Please feel free to contact Monty & Ramirez LLP