The medical and sick leave mandate of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) expired on Jan. 1. 2021. However, eligible employers can continue to voluntarily offer this leave and claim the associated credits through March 31, 2021.
The FFCRA required employers to provide each employee with employer-paid sick time to the extent the employee was unable to work (or telework) because:
- The employee was subject to a federal, state or local quarantine or isolation related to COVID-19;
- The employee was advised by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19;
- The employee was caring for an individual who was subject to one of the two reasons above;
- The employee was experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis;
- The employee was caring for their son or daughter if the school or place of care was closed, or the childcare provider was unavailable, due to COVID-19 precautions;
- The employee was experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services in consultation with the Secretary of Treasury and the Secretary of Labor.
Employers were required to cover 100% of typical wages. However, employers did not have to pay out more than $511 per day (and $5,110 in aggregate) per employee for employees who took leave due to points 1, 2 or 4 listed above. For employees who took leave under points 3, 5 or 6, paid sick time leave pay was capped at $200 per day (and $2,000 in aggregate.)
Full-time employees were eligible for 80 hours of paid sick time. Part-time employees were eligible for a number of hours equal to the average number of hours the employee worked over a two-week period. The paid sick time was available to employees for immediate use, regardless of hire date, and covered 100% of typical wages. Employers did not have to pay out unused emergency sick leave days if the employee was separated.
For employers with existing policies, this emergency sick leave was in addition to paid leave the employee already received. The bill also prohibited employers from altering their policies to avoid these new requirements. Employers also could not require an employee to use other paid leave provided by the employer before using paid leave under the emergency bill.
The bill also required employers to post notices of the paid sick leave. Notices needed to be prepared or approved by DOL, which made a model notice available to employers within seven days after the bill was enacted.
Employers were prohibited from discharging, disciplining or discriminating against employees who used sick time under this new act or file a complaint with regard to the act. The bill provided monetary penalties for employers who did not comply. This took effect 15 days after the date of enactment and remained in effect until Dec. 31, 2020.
The Secretary of Labor was granted the authority to issue regulations to exempt small businesses with fewer than 50 employees from these requirements “when the imposition of such requirements would jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern.”
NAHB is providing this information for general information only. This information does not constitute the provision of legal advice, tax advice, accounting services, investment advice, or professional consulting of any kind nor should it be construed as such. The information provided herein should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional tax, accounting, legal, or other competent advisers.