Congress Declines to Extend Mandatory FFCRA Leave

Author: Emily Scace, XpertHR Legal Editor

December 22, 2020

The new COVID-19 relief bill, passed by Congress on December 21, declines to extend the mandatory paid sick and family leave requirements of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which are scheduled to expire on December 31, 2020.

The FFCRA, which took effect April 1, requires covered employers to provide eligible employees with temporary job-protected paid sick leave and paid expanded family and medical leave for qualifying reasons related to the COVID-19 pandemic. After December 31, employers will no longer be obligated to provide this leave.

However, the bill does extend the availability of tax credits for employers that continue to provide leave on the terms established by the FFCRA through March 31, 2021. These credits are available to employers that pay employees qualified sick or family leave wages as defined in the FFCRA, as well as to certain self-employed individuals.

Although the major leave-related provisions of the FFCRA are set to expire at the close of 2020, employers remain required to comply with the law's recordkeeping and anti-retaliation provisions. Specifically, employers must maintain the information employees provided in support of their FFCRA leave requests for four years and refrain from terminating, disciplining or otherwise discriminating against an employee for taking leave or exercising other rights under the FFCRA.

With the impending expiration of the FFCRA's leave requirements, employers should review any state and local requirements that may apply. A number of states and localities have adopted laws providing leave protections similar to those offered by the FFCRA for employees affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.