New Stimulus Package Takes FFCRA from Mandatory to Optional

By Caitlyn Elam | December 30, 2020

As this is a fast moving topic, please note that this article is current as of 12/28/20.For contact information, please click here.

After some delay, President Trump signed the latest COVID-19 stimulus package into law. Two sections of the legislation that impact business owners are changes to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”) and Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”).[1]

Enacted in April 2020, the FFCRA expanded leave protections for employees by mandating that employers provide employees paid family and medical leave and paid sick leave for qualifying COVID reasons. The FFCRA applies to all public employers and private employers with 500 or fewer employees. Private employers receive incentives for the paid leave through payroll tax credits. Throughout 2020, the Department of Labor issued a lengthy list of FAQs and attempted to provide guidance for employers to navigate this new law. The FFCRA remains in effect until December 31, 2020.

In its latest stimulus package, Congress declined to extend the mandatory leave requirements of the FFCRA. Instead, the new package provides that an employer can voluntarily provide FFCRA paid leave to its employees and still receive the payroll tax credits for paid leave until March 31, 2021. The second stimulus package provides no additional leave for those who have already exhausted their FFCRA benefits.

With a new year ahead, it is advisable that employers make a decision now as to whether they will continue to provide FFCRA leave to their employees through March 31, 2021. Now is also a good time to review existing leave policies to ensure that they are implemented properly.

 For information on PPP changes, please see our latest article written by Kati Goodner, Second Stimulus Package Bill Passes – Summary of Provisions Affecting Business Owners.

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