March 16, 2021
Authored by: Christy Phanthavong and Lily Kurland
The American Rescue Plan (“ARP”), signed into law by President Biden on March 11, 2021, does not place any new paid leave requirements on private employers who were previously covered by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”). However, as they have been able to do through the first quarter of 2021, such employers may voluntarily continue to provide Paid Sick Leave (“PSL”) and Emergency Family and Medical Leave Act (“EFMLA”) leave as set forth in the FFCRA and receive certain payroll tax credits for such wages.
In addition, the ARP expands various aspects of the FFCRA:
Expansion of PSL:
- Employees can be given a new 10-day allotment of PSL for use from April 1, 2021 through September 30, 2021, even if they exhausted their PSL days during 2020 or used PSL with the employer’s permission during the period January 1 – March 31, 2021.
- PSL can be used for additional reasons (subject to the FFCRA requirement that the employee be unable to work due to the qualifying reason), specifically:
- for leave needed when the employee is seeking or awaiting the results of a diagnostic test for, or a medical diagnosis of, COVID 19, where such employee has been exposed to COVID-19 or the employer has requested such test or diagnosis;
- for leave needed when the employee is obtaining immunization related COVID-19; and/or
- for leave needed when the employee is recovering from any injury, disability, illness, or condition related to COVID-19 immunization.
Expansion of EFMLA:
- The first ten