Earlier this year, Congress passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) which required covered employers to provide eligible employees with paid leave for specific COVID-19 related reasons. The FFCRA allows up to 80 hours of paid leave with an additional 10 weeks under certain circumstances. Beginning April 1, 2020, employers were permitted to claim a tax credit to recoup the cost of providing FFCRA leave. https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/covid-19-related-tax-credits-basic-faqs . The FFCRA is set to expire December 31, 2020.
Last week, Congress delivered a new COVID relief package. As proposed, the bill includes several stimulus provisions including increased unemployment benefits and direct payments to individuals. However, the bill does not extend the FFCRA. The bill extends the tax credit available to employers through March 31, 2021, there is no requirement that employers provide ongoing FFCRA paid leave.
It is unclear whether additional stopgap measures might be enacted to save the FFCRA before December 31st but with the New Year quickly approaching, it is unlikely. If the FFCRA is to be renewed, it likely won’t happen until next year. In the meantime, employers can:
Voluntarily offer FFCRA leave and claim the tax credit through March 31, 2021;
Continue to offer PTO and other employer provided leave program s for COVID related absences;
Continue to process leave under OFLA, and FMLA, and potentially the ADA in some cases;
Continue to allow those employees who can to work from home;
Continue to allow flexibility to employees facing COVID related challenges (unpaid leave, flexing schedules, adjusting schedules, etc.)
Remember that Oregon continues to fund a temporary paid leave program that can be utilized if an employee is out of paid time off and needs to quarantine or isolate due to COVID-19.
Should you have questions about how to address COVID related challenges in your workplace, please do not hesitate to call me at 503-595-2127 or .