President Biden wants all employers to provide paid time off for COVID-19 vaccinations

Last week, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission confirmed that new COVID-19 vaccination incentive guidance would arrive soon. While we wait patiently for its arrival, yesterday, President Biden reminded employers with fewer than 500 employees that there’s already a paid leave tax credit for employers with fewer than 500 employees to provide full pay for any time their employees need to get a COVID-19 vaccination or recover from that vaccination.

Here are additional details from the White House announcement:

A Tax Credit for Small- and Medium-sized Businesses to Fully Offset the Cost of Paid Leave for Employees to Get Vaccinated and Recover from Any After-Effects of Vaccination. Thanks to President Biden’s American Rescue Plan, a paid leave tax credit will offset the cost for businesses and nonprofits with fewer than 500 employees for up to 80 hours (i.e. 10 work days) up to $511 per day of paid sick leave offered between April 1 and September 30, 2021. This tax credit will allow these employers to provide paid leave for employees to get a COVID-19 vaccination and for any time their employees may need to recover from that vaccination at no cost to the employer. This tax credit will apply to nearly half of all private sector employees in America. Today, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released and posted a fact sheet to educate employers on how to claim the paid sick leave credit on their quarterly tax filings. For more details on how the paid leave tax credits from the American Rescue Plan will work for employers to enable employees to get vaccinated and recover from after-effects of vaccination, as well as for other purposes, please consult this snapshot from the Department of the Treasury.

Per the Treasury Department, businesses that pay employees for qualifying leave can take the tax credit against their share of certain payroll taxes. If the amount of the credit exceeds a business’s portion of its payroll taxes, then the excess is refunded – paid – directly back to the business. Businesses can file quarterly for this credit through September 30, 2021.

In total, employers with fewer than 500 employees may claim up to $17,110 for 14 weeks of paid leave for each impacted employee not only to get vaccinated but also to take time off if they have COVID-19 symptoms and are going to the doctor; are getting tested for COVID-19; are under quarantine or isolation order by the government or a doctor (or are caring for someone who is); or have to care for a child whose school or child care provider closed, due to COVID-19.

If all of this sounds vaguely familiar to you, it should. This is the voluntary FFCRA leave that employers with fewer than 500 employees may voluntarily provide under the American Rescue Plan.

Sorry folks, no double-dip.

Instead, I’m serving up three tasty items tomorrow:

First, I’m going to blog about why you may not want to require COVID-19 vaccinations for employees. Hint: OSHA.

Second, I’m going to share a recipe for the best Oreo cake in the entire universe.

Third, space is running out for The Employer Handbook Zoom Office Hour: Beverages and Benefits, on April 23, from 12-1 PM ET. My partners Mark MathisBob Ellerbrock, and Amy Epstein Gluck will take a deep dive into the new U.S. Department of Labor guidance and model notices to support the new COBRA premium subsidy under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021You can register for that hereIf you have hypothetical questions for a friend, please complete this form. We’ll do our best to answer them without providing any legal advice whatsoever.

Maybe, I’ll also have news of EEOC vaccine incentive guidance. But, at the very least, I’ll have a beverage.

And, perhaps, a slice of Oreo cake.



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