On Sunday evening, President Trump signed into law a new Congressional bill intended to further blunt the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to dominate the news. While the new law provides for roughly $900 billion in economic stimulus, it does not address some provisions that will directly impact state and local government employees.
In particular, the bill only partially amends the Family First Coronavirus Relief Act (FFCRA) by extending through March 31, 2021 the tax credits available to private employers. This has caused some confusion as the bill extends the tax credits, but does not extend the federal mandates to provide paid leave under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA or “Paid Sick Leave”) and the Emergency Family Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLEA or “Expanded FMLA”). Without the extension of the FFCRA paid-leave mandates, state and local governments will no longer be required to provide Paid Sick Leave or Expanded FMLA to their employees beginning in 2021. It also means the 6-reason framework of both the EPSLA or EMFLEA (see Overview of Leave Laws Related to COVID-19) which provided allowances of up to 2 weeks of Paid Sick Leave, and up to 10 weeks of paid FMLA at two-thirds a full-time employee’s regular pay, will no longer be required after December 31, 2020.
Funds allocated through the CARES Act to Kentucky’s Coronavirus Relief Fund may not be available to cover a city’s paid sick leave expenses after December 30, 2020. Cities should plan accordingly to ensure payroll expenses meet expected levels.
As a reminder, government employers are still subject to the standard FMLA requirements and should continue to grant unpaid medical leave for FMLA-eligible employees who are unable to work because of their own serious health condition or because they have to care for a family member with a serious health condition, including COVID-19. What remains unclear is whether an employee with caretaking responsibilities for a child whose school remains closed to in-person instruction will qualify for FMLA leave. KLC will continue to monitor these developments and post updated information on the COVID-19 Resources Page.
Guidance for our Members: