Are You Required to Pay COVID-related Sick Leave?

By Nicole Murphey, Employment Attorney

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) that required all private employers with 1 to 499 employees to provide paid, job-protected leave for COVID-19-related reasons will expire at 11:59pm on Thursday, December 31, 2020. It was not extended or renewed in the latest round of federal legislation passed by Congress.  The original version of the relief bill was signed into law by the President on December 27, 2020.

From January 1 to March 31, 2021, the company may volunteer to offer the same COVID-related sick leave which was required under the FFCRA. If the employer elects to provide and pay for the FFCRA-leave, the company will be eligible for the same tax credits provided through March 31, 2021.  But the big difference is that the FFCRA will become a voluntary program in the new year and will no longer be mandatory.  For more information, download our updated white paper detailing the FFCRA.

For companies with employees in states outside of North Carolina, it is important to note that state and local laws may still require paid sick leave for COVID-19.  Several states and municipalities passed their own laws similar to the FFCRA, and they may continue to be in effect for 2021.

We will still keep an eye on this legislation, since the Biden administration will take office in late January and Congress may revisit the mandatory requirements of the FFCRA, likely depending on the ongoing effects of the pandemic through the winter and majority control in Congress.

If you have questions about how the FFCRA affects your company, contact us today.