Barring congressional action to extend the law as the pandemic worsens around the country, the additional paid leave provided for by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) expires on December 31, 2020.
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) requires certain employers to provide employees with paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. These provisions were applicable on April 1, 2020 and will apply from the effective date through December 31, 2020.
Generally, the Act provides that employees of covered employers are eligible for:
- Two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick leave (EPSL) at the employee’s regular rate of pay where the employee is unable to work because the employee is quarantined (pursuant to Federal, State, or local government order or advice of a health care provider), and/or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis; or
- Two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick leave (EPSL) at two-thirds the employee’s regular rate of pay because the employee is unable to work because of a bona fide need to care for an individual subject to quarantine (pursuant to Federal, State, or local government order or advice of a health care provider), or to care for a child (under 18 years of age) whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19, and/or the employee is experiencing a substantially similar condition as specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the Secretaries of the Treasury and Labor; and
- Up to an additional 10 weeks of paid expanded family and medical leave (EFML) at two-thirds the employee’s regular rate of pay where an employee, who has been employed for at least 30 calendar days, is unable to work due to a bona fide need for leave to care for a child whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19.
FFCRA only provides leave benefits up until December 31, 2020, so it’s important to inform employees of limitations and manage expectations. Due to the expiration of emergency paid sick leave (EPSL) and expanded family medical leave (EFML) at the end of the 2020 calendar year, employee entitlement to EFML in October or later will be less than 12 weeks.
Amendments that were distributed in April to Diversified plan sponsors will automatically expire on December 31, 2020 and no action will be needed on your part. Additionally groups whose plan documents were updated recently to include the FFCRA language will not need to be amended as the language in the document includes the sunset provision.
Should FFCRA be extended, the Diversified Team will work to ensure your plans are appropriately covered.