Payroll Briefs

DOL Clarifies Expiration of FFCRA Paid Sick Leave and Expanded Family and Medical Leave

January 18, 2021

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL)’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) has issued new guidance to shed light on the relief offered by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) for both workers and employers. The FFCRA was put in motion to help the U.S. navigate the workplace effects of COVID-19 by providing tax credits to American businesses with 500 employees or fewer to give employees paid leave related to the COVID-19 pandemic, whether for the employee’s own health or to care for family members. However, the paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave requirements instilled by the FFCRA recently expired on Dec. 31, 2020. DM Payroll Solutions explores the options employees now have for paid COVID-19-related leave and what employers need to know when offering it.

Expired Leave Entitlement

The new guidance comes in the form of Frequently Asked Questions on the WHD’s website and responds to the inquiry of whether workers who didn’t use their leave entitlement in 2020 under the FFCRA may use it in 2021. It goes on to explain that the WHD will continue its enforcement authority over employers’ leave responsibilities, both while the paid leave requirements were in effect and after the entitlements expired.

The CAA’s Effect on Paid Leave

The new COVID-19 relief legislation, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (CAA), extended employer tax credits for paid sick leave and increased family and medical leave voluntarily provided to workers until Mar. 31, 2021. While this provision was welcomed, the CAA did not extend employees’ FFCRA entitlement leave into 2021, which means employers are no longer legally required to provide it. Since the CCA extends tax credits to employers voluntarily providing FFCRA leave, it allows employers to offer paid leave and ensure workers are not stuck choosing between their pay and the public health measures in place to fight the spread of COVID-19.

Here to Help

If you’re unsure of how much COVID-19-related leave your workers are eligible to take or how much you are required to pay them under the FFCRA, visit the WHD’s Quick Benefits Tips. DM Payroll Solutions is here to help you manage payroll when accounting for employees’ paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave – contact us today for more information.