The American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act of 2021 extended Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) leave benefits through September 30, 2021. As it was with the previous extension, FFCRA did not automatically extend and only applies if employers elect to extend the benefit to employees.
School systems have been notified about the extension of FFCRA leave for employees.
Here are some key changes about the latest extension.
One, between this extension and the last: this extension actually grants employees a new round of FFCRA leave. Previously, the extension only allowed employees to take FFCRA leave if they had not already exhausted it. However, with the latest extension, if anyone has already exhausted their FFCRA leave they can now take an additional 10 days of fully-paid or partially-paid leave depending on the reason for the necessity of the leave.
Two, the FFCRA leave now officially covers getting the vaccine and recovering from COVID-19 vaccine side effects, which AEA had argued FFCRA applied to, but with nothing in writing to support it. Now, AEA has the support of the law to enforce this coverage for any school system that elects to extend the FFCRA leave. Please note that the rate of pay is the full 100% for these new reasons.
Three, the expanded FMLA leave can now be taken for a full 12 weeks at 67% pay rate for any of the FFCRA-qualifying reasons. As you know, when FFCRA was first adopted the expanded FMLA could only be taken for closed schools and daycares or the loss of child care for COVID-related reasons. With this change, employees can now take up to 12 weeks of partially-paid leave if they contract COVID or take care of someone with COVID and need more than the 10 days’ paid leave.
Contact your UniServ Director if you have any questions regarding FFCRA leave.
Article published in the Alabama School Journal, April 2021