Legal Alert: Family First Coronavirus Response Act expired on 12/31/20 but many employees may still qualify for federal paid sick time.

The new $900 billion coronavirus pandemic relief package signed by the President on December 27, 2020 did not extend the mandatory paid leave provisions of the Family First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which expired on December 31, 2020. However, the law does extend payroll tax credits to employers that voluntarily grant paid FFCRA leave to their employees through March 31, 2021.

The FFCRA, enacted in March 2020 at the start of the pandemic, requires employers with fewer than 500 employees to provide employees with emergency paid sick leave (EPSLA) and expanded family and medical leave (EFMLEA) for specified reasons directly related to COVID-19. The expense of FFCRA leave is offset by payroll tax credits equal to the wages paid to employees on qualifying leave.

In first quarter 2021, the leave provisions of the FFCRA become an optional framework for employers to provide paid COVID-related leave to employees and continue to get payroll tax credits to offset their costs to administer the paid leave. The extension of the tax credits does not increase any individual employee’s FFCRA leave allotment and an employer will not get a tax credit if they allow an employee to exceed the maximum amount of FFCRA leave, regardless of whether that leave was taken in 2020 or 2021. Employers must strictly adhere to the FFCRA’s qualifying factors to receive the payroll tax credit.

Employers should consult with one of RL&L’s experienced counselors prior to offering to continue FFCRA paid sick leave through March 31, 2021 to ensure their paid sick leave allowances comply with federal and state laws.


Disclaimer: The foregoing is not legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you have any questions or require any assistance, please contact the head of our employment law practice, Kate Frenzinger,, 520-792-4800 or 480-663-9800.