FFCRA (Families First Coronavirus Response Act) first went into effect April 1, 2020 and was set to expire December 31, 2020. In December, FFCRA was extended on a voluntary basis allowing employers to continue to offer FFCRA leave through March 31, 2021. On March 11, 2021 the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) extended FFCRA on a voluntary basis from April 1 to September 30, 2021 with some expansions and modifications.
Under ARPA, beginning April 1, 2021 FFCRA payroll tax credits are extended through September 30, 2021 and there are new modifications and reasons for employees to take leave under FFCRA Emergency Paid Sick Leave:
- Awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test or medical diagnosis if exposed or the employer has requested such test or diagnosis, not necessarily experiencing symptoms (new reason)
- Obtaining a COVID-19 vaccination (new reason)
- Recovering from the side effects of the vaccination (new reason)
- Subject to government quarantine order
- Advised by a health care provider to self-isolate or quarantine
- Experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and needs to seek a medical diagnosis
- Caring for an individual who is quarantining on medical advice or government order
- Caring for their child whose school is closed due to COVID-19
Beginning April 1, 2021 there are new reasons for employees to take leave under FFCRA Expanded Family & Medical Leave Act:
- Now match the reasons under Emergency Paid Sick Leave
- First 2 weeks are now paid
ARPA also allows for the Emergency Paid Sick Leave banks for employees to be reloaded meaning the employees now have a new block of up to 80 hours to use even if they took leave prior to April 1, 2021. Employers cannot offer leave to certain classes of employees and not others based on length of tenure, FT/PT status or highly compensated employees. Employers do NOT have to offer both Emergency Paid Sick Leave and Expanded FMLA.
Please contact our Director of Human Resources, Caroline Organ, at email@example.com or 716-854-5034 with any questions.