Families First Coronavirus Response Act

Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 Updates to FFCRA Benefits

The original FFCRA leave tax credits (see below) were extended through March 31, 2021.  The mandate to provide the leave was not extended beyond December 31, 2020, but companies can still claim the credit for payments made to eligible employees with qualifying leave.

Families First Conronavirus Response Act (March 18, 2020)

On March 18, 2020, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) was signed into law.  The Act addresses domestic assistance including unemployment benefits, paid sick leave, insurance coverage of Coronavirus testings and other assistance. age under construction.

     Link to the full Families First Response Act

Employees Sick Leave Program

The Act requires that any employers with 500 or few employees provide Emergency Paid Sick Leave to employees for any of the following reasons:

  • To quarantine to the employee being diagnosed with the Coronavirus

  • To seek a diagnosis or preventative care for the Coronavirus

  • To comply with a recommendation or order by a public official with jurisdiction or healthcare provider on the basis that the physical presence of the employee would jeopardize the health of others due to exposure of the employee to Coronavirus or exhibition of symptoms by the employee.

Family Leave Program

The Act requires provide Sick Leave to any employee required to care for a family member for such purposes or to care for a child whose school or day care provider has closed or is unavailable due to the Coronavirus.

The sick leave credit for each employee would be equal to their wages, limited to $511 per day while the employee is receiving paid sick leave to care for themselves, or $200 if the sick leave is to care for a family member or child whose school is closed. An additional limit applies to the number of days per employee: the excess of 10 days over the aggregate number of days taken into account for all preceding calendar quarters.

The family leave credit for each employee is limited to $200 per day with a maximum of $10,000.

Employer Tax Credits

The Act provides tax credits to small to medium size employers to cover wages paid to employees while they are taking time off under the bill's sick leave and family leave programs.

The FFCRA allows for employers fewer than 500 employees to claim tax credits on amounts paid to employees who are unable to work due and are on paid sick leave or public health leave due to the Coronavirus.  The credits apply against the employers share of Social Security and Medicare taxes and equal the amount paid by the employers to employees under these leave programs.  The credits cover 10 days of paid leave and the amount of the credit depends on the type of the leave.

Type 1 includes leave for employees who are caring for someone subject to quarantine, employees who are caring for their child due to school or child care closure and other similar circumstances.  These credits are limited to $200 per employee per day and $2,000 total.

Type 2 includes leave for the employee being quarantined or isolated by government order, the employee has been advised to quarantine or isolate by a healthcare provider or the employee is experiencing symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis.  The amount changes for these credits to up to $511 per day and $5,110 in the aggregate per employee.

Employers don't receive the credit if they're also receiving the credit for paid family and medical leave in Code Sec. 45S. 

See here for additional information on the Employer Tax Credits.

Comparable Credits for The Self-Employed

The Act also provides for similar refundable credits against the self-employment tax. It covers 100% of a self-employed individual's sick-leave equivalent amount, or 67% of the individual's sick-leave equivalent amount if they are taking care of a sick family member or taking care of a child following the child's school closing. The sick-leave equivalent amount is the lesser of average daily self-employment income, or $511/day to care for the self-employed individual, or $200/day to care for a sick family member or child following a school closing.

Self-employed individuals could receive a family leave credit for as many as 50 days multiplied by the lesser of $200 or their average self-employment income.