By; Matthew A. Bowles, Associate
January 7, 2021 – On December 27, 2020, President Trump signed the $900 billion COVID-19 relief bill into law. Significantly, the new relief bill does not extend the Emergency Paid Sick Leave (“EPSL”) or Expanded Family and Medical Leave Act (“EFMLA”) paid leave requirements provided for under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”). Because the FFCRA paid leave provisions expired on December 31, 2020, employers are no longer required to provide their employees with paid leave under same. However, the new COVID-19 relief bill allows employers to take payroll tax credits until March 31, 2021, for continuing to provide FFCRA EPSL and EFMLA paid leave on a voluntary basis.
In determining whether to voluntarily provide FFCRA paid leave, employers must consider the legal implications associated with voluntarily subjecting themselves to potential liability for employee claims provided by the FFCRA. Alternatively, some employers may wish to continue to provide COVID-19 related paid leave benefits to their employees without federal strings attached. Such employers should consider creating their own COVID-19 related paid leave programs for the duration of the pandemic.