The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) requires certain employers to provide their employees with paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19.
Perhaps, you’ve heard of it.
The FFCRA will expire on December 31, 2020. But, over the weekend, the House and Senate reached a deal on a $900B stimulus package that appeared to impact the FFCRA. I say “appeared” because we didn’t have the text of the bill yet, just a statement from Speaker Pelosi that “the agreement provides a tax credit to support employers offering paid sick leave, based on the Families First framework.”
Then, yesterday afternoon, the House published the text of the bill. All 5,593 pages of it 😵🥴😠😡🤬
So, like any smart lawyer, I just ran a search for the words “Families First” and I divined that the FFCRA still sunsets on December 31, 2020. However, an employer may continue to provide FFCRA leave (both paid sick and paid family leave) until March 31, 2021, and collect tax credits. But, doing so is voluntary. Plus, an employee that has already exhausted his/her bank of FFCRA leave doesn’t get replenished.
Others, like my friends Phil Miles and Jeff Nowak, seem to agree with my CTRL-F approach to the bill. Astutely, Jeff reminds his FMLA Insights readers not to forget about more generous state and local laws that may continue into 2021.
I’ll add that if you intend to continue to provide FFCRA through March 31, 2021, you need to update your leave policies ASAP and communicate the same to your employees. The House passed the bill last night. So, hurry up! It sounds like it’s only a matter of time before the Senate passes it too and the bill lands on President Trump’s desk for signature.