Update on Employee Leave Provisions During COVID

Update on Employee Leave Provisions During COVID

As COVID case numbers surge dramatically, LeadingAge members have asked for an update on employee leave provisions, in case staff test positive, have a family member who tests positive or is ill, or have to miss work for other reasons related to COVID.  Here’s a quick review of the state of the play with employee leave provisions, including those expired, soon to expire, and still in effect.

Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)

The FFCRA was enacted in March 2020. The FFCRA required mandatory paid leave (Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act and Emergency Family Medical Leave Extension Act) for employees related to COVID-19.  The provisions applied to employers with 500 or fewer employees

The FFRCA leave provisions were structured as a refundable tax credit for employers to cover 2 weeks of sick leave and up to 10 weeks of Emergency Family Medical Leave. There were six qualifying conditions for this leave.

The FFRCA leave provisions expired on December 31, 2020

American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA)

Effective April 1, 2021, the ARPA extended the tax credits available under FFCRA on a voluntary basis for qualifying events. This extension also added three additional qualifying conditions for the leave provisions. See the IRS guidance and overview of the ARPA for more details. 

These leave benefits and tax credits were extended through September 20, 2021.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration Emergency Temporary Standard (OSHA ETS) – Medical Removal Protection Benefits

Under the OSHA ETS for healthcare settings providers must pay regular pay and benefits, up to $1,400 per week, for employees that miss work due to a COVID-19 diagnosis or known exposure to those with COVID-19.

This ETS applies to healthcare settings with more than 10 employees. The medical removal benefit applies unless the employee meets return to work criteria or refuses to be tested for COVID-19. For employers with less than 500 employees, that amount is reduced beginning in the third week of removal to two-thirds of the regular pay and benefits, up to $200 per day

Providers may require use of paid sick leave, PTO, or other applicable leave under your policies and procedures. 

Employers must provide “reasonable time and paid leave” to any employee who receives a COVID-19 vaccine and/or experiences side effects following vaccination. The ETS does not define or give examples of “reasonable time or paid leave”




Laura Hofmann, MSN, RN – Director of Clinical and Nursing Facility Regulatory Services
c: 425-231-4804

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August 5, 2021