Did the Government Extend FFCRA Leave through March?

January 06, 2021 • Amy Campbell

Did the Government Extend FFCRA Leave through March?

Editor’s note: The American Rescue Plan of 2021 (ARP) extended tax credits to certain employers for COVID-related sick and family leave wages taken beginning April 1, 2021, through September 20, 2021. Additional information on these tax credits is available in the HRX article Additional Leave for COVID-Related Absences.

Several of our members have reached out to get clarification about the recent coronavirus relief package signed into law on December 27.

What do public education entities need to know?

The Consolidated Appropriations Act (CAA), 2021, extends employer tax credits for paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave until March 31, 2021, to covered employers who voluntarily continue to offer leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). News outlets have reported on the impact on employers, which has caused some confusion among public education entities in Texas. As with the tax credits provided by the FFCRA, the tax credits under the CAA do not apply to public employers such as school districts.

The FFCRA leave entitlements expired December 31, and the CAA does not require an employer to continue to offer FFCRA leave to employees. The Department of Labor provided guidance in a December 31 news release and described the impact of the CAA in questions 104 and 105 in its Frequently Asked Questions document.

We previously provided guidance back in December in “Federal Leave is Ending, What Next?” that districts intending to extend leave after expiration of the FFCRA needed to take action through a board resolution or similar method. This guidance is still current, and districts wanting to offer additional leave or continue to offer FFCRA-type leave should rely on board action to authorize the leave.

What action do public education entities need to take?

For districts wishing to extend leave, review the December guidance for more information and a link to templates for resolutions to authorize additional leave.

While the CAA allows employers to extend access to the same leave provided under the FFCRA until March 31, this timing doesn’t make sense for districts. Many districts would prefer to extend the leave through the remainder of the school year.

Also, the district may not want to offer leave to be used for the same reasons as prescribed by the FFCRA. For example, a district may wish to offer leave for an employee’s own COVID-19 illness or exposure but not offer leave for childcare purposes or to care for an individual. These details can be spelled out in a resolution approved by the board, and the resolution should be adopted as soon as practicable.

Districts seeking additional guidance on developing their own resolutions should contact their local counsel or TASB Legal at 800.580.5345.

Amy Campbell is director at TASB HR Services. Send Amy an email at amy.campbell@tasb.org.

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Tagged: COVID-19, "Department of Labor", DOL, Leave