The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), passed earlier this year, allowed employers with less than 500 employees to voluntarily provide Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) and Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (FMLEA) leave to eligible employees on terms similar to 2020’s Families First Coronavirus Relief Act (FFCRA). As with the FFCRA, employers providing qualifying leave under ARPA could recover their costs of leave provided through payroll tax credits. This tax credit-eligible leave under ARPA had to be taken between April 1 and September 30 of 2021. Leave taken after September 30 will no longer qualify for payroll tax credits.
Despite the expiration of leave under ARPA and its payroll tax credits, employees will continue to need leave for COVID-related reasons. Employers should consider that time off may be available to employees under an employer’s existing paid leave policies. Employees could also qualify for leave under state or local leave laws. And, in the interest of workplace safety, many employers will allow employees to take unpaid leave if a worker is exposed to COVID-19 or has COVID-19 symptoms.
Contact the employment attorneys at myHRcounsel for questions regarding employee leave and COVID-19.
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