The FFCRA (Families First Coronavirus Response Act) requires all employers with less than 500 employees to offer Paid Sick leave and Extended FMLA Leave for childcare purposes when employees meet certain eligibility requirements. The FFCRA mandate was set to expire on December 31, 2020. On December 21st, Congress passed a new stimulus bill that does not extend the mandated leave but DOES allow employers to continue to offer leave and to take the associated tax credit. Despite some haggling back and forth, President Trump signed this bill on December 27th.
What Does This Mean To You?
This is positive news. Employers can cover the cost of paying for COVID related sick leave and/or qualified leave due to a lack of childcare and then recoup that cost through payroll tax credits. This could represent a significant cost savings. Keep in mind that the total amount of paid time off available through this program does not refresh in 2021. If an employee used their full entitlement in 2020, then they can no longer receive additional time off.
What Action Steps Should You Take?
Employers should decide now whether they will continue to allow employees to use either or both of these benefits. One option may be to allow Paid Sick Leave, but not allow Extended FMLA. Whatever the decision, employers should inform their employees about what will be available to them and should be consistent with how they administer the leave.
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For more information about this topic or other Human Resource issues impacting your business, please contact Sandra Teague at STeague@GoCGO.com.
Sandra Teague, MBA, SPHR, SHRM-SCP
VP of HR Consulting at Connor & Gallagher OneSource (CGO)
This blog is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice.