However, the Covid relief package signed on December 27, 2020, provides employers who voluntarily elect to continue to give employees paid sick and family leave for Covid-19 related reasons through March 31, 2021, with payroll tax credits in the same manner as if the leave were covered by the FFCRA. Put another way, an employer who would have been covered by the FFCRA and volunteers to provide the equivalent of FFCRA paid sick and family leave until the end of March 2021, will receive the payroll tax credits that would have been available for providing FFCRA sick and/or family leave prior to December 31, 2020.
Accordingly, employers need to decide if it makes sense to adopt or amend paid sick/family leave policies to take advantage of the available payroll tax credits. Employers who do not opt to offer paid sick/family leave and are covered by FMLA and/or OFLA should review available unpaid leave options and notice/certification requirements/deadlines in anticipation of employees’ absences. And, for employees who are currently using FFCRA leave, employers should consider whether the employees are eligible to continue on unpaid FMLA or OFLA leave* after December 31, 2020, and whether employees with Covid-19 related conditions might be eligible for leave as an accommodation under the ADA and state law.
*Remember, OFLA allows an eligible employee to take unpaid sick child leave if the employee’s child’s school or childcare provider is closed due to a public health emergency.