COVID-19 Small Business Resource Center

Families First Coronavirus Response Act

Updated: March 30, 2021

In March 2020, the United States enacted the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which required employers with fewer than 500 employees to provide paid sick and family leave to employees affected by COVID-19 and provided affected employers with a corresponding employment tax credit. The leave requirements took effect April 1, 2020 and expired on December 31, 2020. However, the tax credits have been extended for employers that provide such leave voluntarily from January 1, 2021 through September 30, 2021.

Emergency Paid Sick Leave

As enacted, the FFCRA required covered employers to provide up to 80 hours of emergency paid sick leave to employees when they are unable to work (or telework) because of the following reasons:

  • The employee is subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19 or is caring for an individual who is subject to such an order.
  • The employee has been advised by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19 or is caring for an individual who has been advised to self-quarantine.
  • The employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis.
  • The employee is caring for their son or daughter due to their school or place of care being closed, or their childcare provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19 precautions.
  • The employee is experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of Labor.

While the leave requirement expired on December 31, 2020, tax credits have been extended for employers that provide such leave voluntarily from January 1, 2021 through September 30, 2021.

On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). The ARPA adds new reasons for which employees may take paid sick leave for which employers are entitled to the tax credit, including leave for time awaiting the results of a test to diagnose COVID-19, to obtain immunization for it, or to recover from any adverse health impacts arising from the immunization. These new reasons apply from April 1, 2021 through September 30, 2021.

Public Health Emergency Leave/Expanded FMLA

The FFCRA amended the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to temporarily require employers with fewer than 500 employees to provide public health emergency leave (PHEL). While the leave requirement expired on December 31, 2020, tax credits have been extended for employers that provide such leave voluntarily from January 1, 2021 through September 30, 2021.

Use of PHEL:

Eligible employees may use up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave to care for their son or daughter under 18 years of age if their school or place of care has been closed, or their childcare provider is unavailable, due to a public health emergency.

From April 1, 2021 through September 30, 2021, eligible employees may also use PHEL for the same reasons as allowed under the emergency paid sick leave provisions, including the vaccination-related reasons (see above).

Tax Credits

The amount of sick leave wages eligible for the tax credit is limited to $511 per day for care required for the employee, and $200 per day for care that the employee provided to others. The amount of PHEL wages eligible for the tax credit is capped at $200 a day per employee.

For the purposes of the tax credit, the original FFCRA 10-day limitation for emergency paid sick leave applies through March 31, 2021. The ARPA resets this limit for qualifying sick leave taken between April 1, 2021 and September 30, 2021.

The ARPA also increased the wage limit for PHEL payments from $10,000 per employee to $12,000 per employee. Therefore, from April 1, 2021 through the September 30, 2021, the aggregate PHEL payments eligible for the credit is limited to $12,000 per employee.

RUN Powered by ADP (RUN)® Earnings Codes

Three new earnings are now available in RUN to support the changes made by the ARPA and can be used from April 1, 2021 through September 30, 2021 for covered COVID-19-related time off:

  • AR FMLA Expansion: For family leave taken under the ARPA. Payment maximum is $12,000 per employee and only applies to leave taken between April 1, 2021 and September 30, 2021.
  • AR Employee Pay: For sick leave taken for the employee's own care under the ARPA. Payment is not to exceed $511 per day for two weeks (80 hours) with a maximum limit of $5,110 and only applies to leave taken between April 1, 2021 and September 30, 2021.
  • AR Fam Care Pay: For sick leave taken to care for a family member under the ARPA. Payment is not to exceed $200 per day for two weeks (80 hours) with a maximum limit of $2,000 and only applies to leave taken between April 1, 2021 and September 30, 2021.

Follow the RUN in-product messaging to add the new ARPA earnings codes for check dates April 1, 2021 and later.

Please note that prior to April 1, 2021, these amounts would have been recorded under three FFCRA earning codes. The FFCRA earning codes will expire on March 31, 2021.