On December 31st, the mandatory coronavirus sick leave and family leave passed by Congress last March in the FFCRA expired. The two kinds of leave – you remember them, right? – were not extended by the big coronavirus relief package passed by Congress December 21st and signed by the President on the 27th.
Incidentally, the relief package was dubbed, unusually unimaginatively, the “Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021.”
On December 31st, the Department of Labor noted the expiration of the leave requirements, and added two questions and answers to a Q&A it has published and added to for months as the country battles the coronavirus pandemic.
In the first Q&A on the expiration on the leave requirements, No. 104 in the Q&A, the Department’s Wage & Hour Division wrote that employers are not required to provide the mandatory coronavirus leave after December 31st, but may do so. The Act did extend tax credits for coronavirus leave voluntarily provided to employees until March 31st.
In the second Q&A, No. 105, the Wage & Hour Division confirmed that employees who took mandatory paid leave before December 31st but haven’t been paid for it may have a claim against their employer with the Labor Department or through a private lawsuit.
Going forward, employers will need to look to their existing paid time off, sick leave, and vacation policies when employees request leave for reasons once covered by the mandatory paid leave, and may want to consider updating those policies. Lastly, they will need to comply with leave requirements under other laws, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Family Medical Leave Act, and any state or local leave requirements.