Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Congress votes to (sorta) extend FFCRA leave

Congress passed the "Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021," including assorted COVID-relief provisions. President Trump is expected to sign it (it ain't over till it's over though). Buried within the ~5,600 pages, you can find a convoluted amendment to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). 

Bottom line: After December 31, 2020, employers are no longer required to provide emergency paid sick leave or emergency paid FMLA leave to employees - BUT - employers may voluntarily provide such leave and still receive the tax credit through March 31, 2021. 

This places employers in a somewhat awkward position. On the one hand, it relieves them of the burden of FFCRA compliance. On the other hand, their employees will know that they could provide FFCRA leave at virtually no cost (because it is offset by payroll tax

credits) if they wanted to. Employers will have to weigh the administrative costs (tracking, compliance, cash flow, etc.) against their employees' perceptions of opting out. 

A few other noteworthy provisions:
  • $600 individual "stimulus" payment;
  • Another round of PPP loans (which appear to be more narrowly tailored); and
  • Assorted unemployment compensation expansions - PUA, PEUC, 50-week benefits period, extra $300 in "bonus cash" through March 14, 2021. 

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