April 1 Changes for COVID-Specific Leave

Passed by Congress earlier this month, the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (“ARPA”) is an immense piece of legislation, both in terms of its scope and its price tag. What many employers may not realize is that it provides additional tweaks to the Emergency Paid Sick Leave (“EPSL”) and Emergency FMLA (“E-FMLA”) programs created by last year’s Families First Coronavirus Response Act. These changes go into effect April 1.
First and foremost, offering EPSL and E-FMLA is optional for employers under ARPA. This continues the approach that Congress used for EPSL at the end of 2020. The same tax credits remain available to participating employers.
For employers who choose to offer EPSL, employees have a new entitlement of 10 days for the period beginning April 1 and concluding September 30, 2021. The criteria to qualify for EPSL have also been broadened to include obtaining a COVID-19 vaccine, among others.
For employers who choose to offer E-FMLA, the qualifying criteria have been broadened to be identical to those for EPSL qualifications.
These are just a few of the changes that Congress has made, and businesses should carefully consider the programs as revised to determine what make sense for their organizations. Questions about how you should proceed? Reach out to our attorneys now.