Should Employers Resume Voluntary FFCRA Leave Due to Delta Variant?

As the coronavirus pandemic subsided earlier this year, some employers stopped voluntarily licensing to the First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). With the proliferation of the COVID-19 delta variant, they are considering revoking the voluntary FFCRA license.

Should they?

The answer depends on whether the reviews are so close to the planned end of the FFCRA’s voluntary leave tax credit, whether the company can allow employees to take a vacation, or whether the extension violates US law. Rescue Plan Law (ARPA).

“Given the delta variant and the significant increase in COVID-19 cases, employers who previously discontinued the FFCRA voluntary license may now consider granting the FFCRA voluntary license,” said LaKeisha Caton, attorney for Pryor Cashman, New York. “Employers who choose to reinstate the FFCRA Voluntary License must ensure that they administer benefits to qualify for FFCRA tax credits.”

ARPA extended these tax credits until September 30th. As tax credits close to maturity, an employer who resumes FFCRA benefits must inform employees that leave is only available through the end of September if the company does not plan to provide paid medical care and non-family leave. . .

“This can cause some messaging issues and make employees wonder why the employer didn’t allow the leave earlier this year,” said Hugh Murray III, an attorney for McCarter & English in Hartford, Connecticut. “Employees may wonder why their employer prefers to leave free money on the table and not give them time to get involved in circumstances that warrant it.”

Murray noted that it is possible that Congress could renew tax subsidies.

In addition, the “voluntary offering of COVID-19 licenses after Sept. 30 can provide a competitive advantage when recruiting in industries where demand for talent exceeds supply,” said Stan Hill, a lawyer for Seyfarth in Atlanta.

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