On December 21, 2020, Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act (the “Act”). The Act does not extend the requirements for covered employers to provide employees with emergency paid sick leave or emergency paid family and medical leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (the “FFCRA”). Mandatory leave under the FFCRA expires on December 31, 2020. Effective January 1, 2021, covered employers may voluntarily provide employees with emergency paid sick leave or emergency paid family and medical leave under the FFCRA, but are not required to do so.
If covered employers elect to provide FFCRA leave on a voluntary basis, they may take advantage of the payroll tax credit associated with COVID-19-related leave under the FFCRA, but only for leave taken by employees through March 31, 2021. Additionally, for covered employers to qualify for the payroll tax credit, the leave must be taken by eligible employees, who have not already exhausted their leave allotment, for one or more of the reasons set forth in the FFCRA.