Voluntary Paid Leave Extensions Under American Rescue Plan Act

Voluntary paid leave for employees and accompanying tax credits for employers, originally made available under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), have been extended through September 30, 2021, by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

If you haven’t already, you need to decide whether or not your organization will continue offering paid COVID-related leave to employees. There are many factors that go into this decision, and our HR experts are here to help — watch the video below to learn more: 

Here are the highlights regarding these extensions:

  • Employees have access to an additional 80 hours of Extended Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) from April 1, 2021, through September 30, 2021.
  • Tax credits for employers voluntarily offering paid leave are available to claim through September 30, 2021.
  • New leave reasons have been added to those provided for in the original FFCRA, including if an employee:
    • Is seeking or awaiting the results of a diagnostic test for a medical diagnosis of COVID-19.
    • Has been exposed to COVID-19.
    • Has requested COVID-19 testing or diagnosis.
    • Is obtaining immunization related to COVID-19.
    • Is recovering from an injury, disability, illness, or condition related to such immunization after a public health emergency.
  • All Extended Family Leave is now paid for the full 12 weeks, and the maximum amount payable to employees has increased from $10,000 to $12,000.
  • Employees can continue to use this leave if they are caring for a child whose daycare or school is closed due to COVID. The leave can now be used for expanded reasons originally only offered through the EPSL portion of the act:
    • The employee is subject to a government quarantine or isolation order.
    • A health care provider advises the employee to quarantine or self-isolate.
    • The employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and is seeking a medical diagnosis.
    • The employee is caring for an individual who is subject to a government quarantine or self-isolation order or who has been advised to quarantine or self-isolate by a health care provider.
  • Nextep has established new pay codes for COVID leave effective April 1, 2021. Please reach out to your Nextep payroll expert to add the new codes to your account.

Finally, please note that certain states and locales may have mandatory COVID leave. Please reach out to your Nextep HR team for further information.

There’s a ton of information to unpack with these leave extensions, and it’s important to stay informed to make the right decisions for you and your business. If you have any questions or would like further guidance, your Nextep HR experts are here and ready to help. Reach out to us at hr@nextep.com or give us a call at 888.811.5150.

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