We’ve received several questions from employers questioning the possible extension of the Family First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) time off and the CA COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave. As you may recall, the FFCRA was extended a couple of times, most recently in March 2021 with the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) tax credit. ARPA allows tax credits for some or all of employees’ time off for COVID-19 related events as well as a COBRA subsidy and is in effect until September 30, 2021. (The IRS confirmed in Bulletin 2021-31 that COBRA subsidies will continue until the end of the last period of coverage beginning on or after September 30, 2021. Check with your health insurance carrier for the details on your plan.) As of this date, there is no information to lead us to believe the FFCRA/ARPA tax credit or COBRA subsidy will be extended for COVID-19 related time off beyond September 30, 2021.
In addition, CA Senate Bill 95 (SB 95) requires up to 80 hours of paid time off for COVID-19 related events for employers who have 26 or more employees. As of this publication date, we have no information that SB 95 will be extended beyond September 30, 2021. The CA legislature has closed session for the year and no bills have been brought to the Governor’s desk related to this. Of course, it could be re-enacted later through an executive order with a retroactive date. We’ll keep you posted.
Keep in mind that an employee who is on SB 95 paid leave on September 30th will be able to complete that paid leave (up to 80 hours) even if it runs beyond the expiration date.
Note that the ARPA federal time is a tax credit while the state’s SB 95 is actual paid time off, with no tax credit. Although these may be used in sync for some employers and issues.
But wait – there’s more! Just in case you thought you could hang up your COVID-19 time off hat…. The Cal OSHA Emergency Temporary Standards are still in effect until January 2022. These include paid time off (”exclusion pay”) for employees who are exposed to COVID-19 in the workplace. There is no limit on this time off – and no tax credit.
If you’re our client, please call us if you have exposed or possibly COVID-positive employees and we’ll walk you through the steps to assess and address the matter.
As always, this is not to be considered legal advice.