2020 is in the rearview mirror. Whew! Unfortunately, COVID-19 is not gone and certainly not forgotten. The latest hot topic has been what to do with employees who think they should get paid leave for COVID-19 reasons that were provided under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA.) (In case you need a refresher on this leave, we blogged on it every other day in the spring.)
If you have fewer than 500 employees and an employee reports that he has tested positive for COVID-19 on January 1, 2021, do you have to give him 80 hours of paid leave like you would have given him if he had tested positive on December 1, 2020? The short answer is no but you can if you want. The Consolidated Appropriations Act (the latest stimulus package) did not extend the FFCRA requirements. If, however, a private employer opts to give FFCRA leave, it can still claim the payroll tax credit for leave through March 31, 2021.
On the last day of 2020, the DOL added two new FAQs about the FFCRA leave. The first simply makes clear that FFCRA leave after December 31, 2020, is not required. The second reminds everyone that the DOL will enforce the law for any leave taken between April 1 and December 31, 2020, and that the statute of limitations for those claims is two years from the date of the violation.
So that is where we currently stand. Any changes will have to come from Congress.