Continued Voluntary Emergency Paid Leave

Under the recently signed American Rescue Plan Act (“ARPA”), covered employers (those with fewer than 500 employees) may now continue to voluntarily provide emergency paid sick leave (“emergency PSL”) and emergency family and medical leave (“emergency FMLA”), and claim the accompanying tax credit, through September 30, 2021.  The ARPA also “refreshes” the FFCRA tax credit amount available as of April 1, 2021, meaning an employee who exhausted their eligibility for paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave will be eligible for additional leave as of April 1, 2021. The Act further increases the maximum aggregate amount of emergency FMLA that can be claimed as a tax credit to $12,000 per employee.

In addition to extending the availability of tax credits, the ARPA also expanded the situations under which employees are eligible for leave to include situations related to receiving a COVID-19 vaccine or diagnosis. Employees may now use emergency FMLA for any existing qualifying emergency paid sick leave reason or when: (1) the employee is seeking or awaiting the results of a diagnostic test for, or medical diagnosis of, COVID-19 and the employee has been exposed to COVID-19 or the employee’s employer has requested such test or diagnosis, or (2) the employee is obtaining a COVID-19 vaccine or is recovering from any injury, disability, illness, or condition related to receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.