The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (“ARPA”) which became law on March 11, 2021, extends and expands, among other items, an employer’s opportunities to receive payroll tax credits for employee paid leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”).
When the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”) expired on December 31, 2020, employers were no longer required to provide Emergency Paid Sick Leave (“EPSL”) or Emergency Family Medical Leave Act (“EFMLA”) paid leave. However, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 (“CAA”) extended the payroll tax credits for employers that voluntarily chose to provide paid FFCRA-like leave through March 31, 2021.
The ARPA offers an additional expansion to qualifying employers to continue (or start) offering the type of paid leave that was previously mandatory under the FFCRA by extending the payroll tax credits for such leave from March 31 through September 30, 2021 for employers who voluntarily provide paid FFCRA-like leave.
Additionally, the ARPA resets each employee’s balance of EPSL to two (2) weeks as of April 1, 2021, even if the employee previously used all of his or her EPSL leave under the FFCRA. The ARPA also expands the EPSL qualifying reasons beginning April 1, 2021, to include:
Under the ARPA, the qualifying reasons to take EFMLA leave are expanded to include any of the EPSL qualifying reasons. In addition, ARPA removes the requirement that the first two (2) weeks of EFMLA leave be unpaid. However, it does not reset an employee’s FMLA leave balance. As a reminder, employees may only receive up to twelve (12) weeks of FMLA leave. The EFMLA, as expanded under the ARPA, only expands the qualifying reasons to access the twelve (12) weeks of FMLA leave.
If you have questions related to the ARPA’s expansion of any of the above mention leaves, please call HR Partners at 785-233-7860.