It’s April 1st, no fooling! And that means the new optional extension of the Families First Coronavirus Response Leave is here.
If you have less than 500 employees, you are eligible to offer optional FFCRA leave starting today April 1, 2021, through September 30, 2021, and receive a tax credit from the IRS for all covered leave.
If your company is deciding to offer this leave, here are some important things to note:
- The leave is voluntary – You can choose to offer only the Sick Leave or only the Family Leave, or both. You can also choose to end the leave program before the official end date of September 30, 2021.
- Emergency Paid Sick Leave is Renewed – If you choose to extend the FFCRA leave, your employees are eligible for an entire new bank of Emergency Paid Sick Leave. This means a new bank of 80 hours for full time staff, and the two-week average hours for part-time staff.
- New Reasons for Sick Leave – Employees can now take leave for vaccine appointments and to manage any side effects of the vaccination. If you require your employees to quarantine because of a close contact in the workplace, employees can now take the leave while waiting for COVID-19 test results. These new reasons for sick leave are taken for the employee’s own vaccine appointments, illness, and quarantine, so employees will be paid at their regular rate of pay, not to exceed $511 per day.
- Family Leave is Now Available for all Qualifying Reasons – Unlike the Emergency Paid Sick Leave, the Family Leave portion of FFCRA does not renew as of today. Employees are now eligible for payment during the first 10 days of Family leave, and family leave can be taken for all of the FFCRA qualifying reasons, including:
- To receive the COVID-19 immunization or recover from any injury, disability, illness, or condition related to receiving the COVID-19 vaccine;
- The employee is subject to a federal, state or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19;
- To self-isolate as ordered by a healthcare provider because the employee is diagnosed with COVID 19 or to concerns related to COVID-19;
- To obtain a medical diagnosis or care if the employee is experiencing the symptoms of COVID 19 or the employee was exposed to COVID-19 or was unable to work pending the results of such test or diagnosis;
- To care for the employee’s family member who is subject to a federal, state or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19 or has been advised to self-quarantine by a healthcare provider for concerns related to COVID-19;
- The employee is experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of Labor; and
- To care for the child of such employee if the school or childcare has been closed due to COVID 19, or the childcare provider of such son or daughter is unavailable.
- Family Leave is now paid for all 12 weeks – Tax credits for family leave are available for up to $12,000 in total. This means that if an employee takes family leave for any of the qualifying reasons listed above, the employee will be paid at 2/3 rate of pay, not to exceed $200 per day.
We have crafted the American Rescue Plan Initial Compliance Package – a fixed fee solution to make rolling out this leave program easy and headache free. When trying to figure out how to organize leave plans and prepare for the impact of these new laws, we can help. Do not hesitate to reach out with questions and to utilize our American Rescue Plan Initial Compliance Package.
Questions about complying with this new voluntary leave program? We can help!