The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) is an economic stimulus measure that temporarily mandated covered employers to provide eligible employees with paid sick leave and paid family and medical leave through December 31, 2020, among other provisions.
The FFCRA also allowed employers to recoup the cost of providing such leave through tax credits. COVID stimulus legislation passed in December 2020 allows employers who voluntarily continue to provide FFCRA from January 1, 2021 through March 31, 2021 to continue applying these tax credits, even though it is no longer required to provide leave under the FFCRA.
This Help Page summarizes some of the key provisions of the FFCRA that continue to impact employers. To learn more about scheduling FFCRA in Justworks, check out our Help Center article on Scheduling FFCRA leave and tax credits.
Justworks customers can view legal updates, as well as resources from federal agencies like the CDC, DOL, and EEOC and state-level agencies by visiting the ThinkHR COVID-19 Crisis Response Center.
Emergency Sick Leave
Prior to December 31, 2021, the FFCRA mandated that employers with fewer than 500 employees provide 80 hours of emergency paid sick leave to full-time employees under quarantine due to a government order or health care provider’s advisement, who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking diagnosis, or for other similar circumstances specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services. Employers were required to provide part-time employees with sick leave in an amount equivalent to the hours they typically work in a two-week period. The maximum benefit was capped at $511/day per employee.
Employers were also required to allow employees to use emergency sick leave under the FFCRA to care for someone quarantined or to care for their child whose school or daycare is closed. For employees utilizing leave to care for another, the maximum benefit was capped at $200/day per employee.
Emergency Family & Medical Leave
The FFCRA also temporarily expanded the scope of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to require emergency paid leave for specific circumstances related to COVID-19 until December 31, 2020. Specifically, employers with fewer than 500 Employees were required to provide 12 weeks of job-protected leave to any employee who worked at the company for at least 30 days and was unable to work or telework due to their child’s school or daycare closing. Under the FFCRA, the first two weeks of family medical leave must be unpaid, but the employee could use Emergency Sick Leave under the Act to cover this portion. Weeks three through twelve were required tot be paid at two-thirds the employee’s regular pay, capped at $200/day and $10,000 in aggregate per employee.
Under the FFCRA, funds that employers used to pay employees for emergency paid sick leave and emergency paid family and medical leave and their employer contribution to health insurance premiums were fully refundable via tax credits.
While the mandate to provide leave expired December 31, 2020, under the December 2020 stimulus law, employers who voluntarily continue to provide paid leave that had previously been required under the FFCRA can continue to receive tax credits through March 31, 2021, subject to the same caps applicable under the FFCRA.
The FFCRA contains many other provisions not addressed here, including provisions surrounding health insurance coverage for COVID-19 testing, and funding for state unemployment insurance programs, and other benefit programs.
Other Leave Laws
Employers should be mindful of their other requirements under other state, local, and federal laws, including state laws providing COVID-related leave. For example, employees of covered employers remain eligible for unpaid, job-protected FMLA leave. Many state and local laws also require job-protected family and medical leave, or paid sick leave. Employers should consult an attorney regarding their compliance these various mandates.
This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, legal or tax advice. If you have any legal or tax questions regarding this content or related issues, then you should consult with your professional legal or tax advisor.