The American Rescue Plan did not introduce any significant changes that impact employers. Most employment-related provisions center around funding employer relief programs, and extension of tax credits and qualifications for FFCRA leave.
FFCRA leave provisions
As of January 01, 2021, eligible employers are no longer mandated to provide FFCRA leave to eligible employees; the American Rescue Plan did not change that. It did, however, extend the FFCRA tax credit provisions for employers who continue to provide paid leave voluntarily from March 31, 2021, through September 30, 2021. The law also expanded eligibility for FFCRA leave to include the following reasons:
- Receiving a COVID-19 vaccination
- Recovering from complications related to receiving a COVID-19 vaccination
In addition, as we are approaching the one-year mark of the FFCRA, the allotted 80 hours of paid sick leave will start over effective April 1, 2021. The Act also eliminates the two-week waiting period for Emergency Paid Family Leave and increases the aggregate payment amounts from $10,000 to $12,000.
The American Rescue Plan includes a 6-month COBRA subsidy period (effective April 1 to September 30, 2021) that qualifies employees who meet specific eligibility requirements for a 100% subsidy on COBRA coverage. Insurers and employers are responsible for covering the cost of the subsidy that will be fully reimbursed through tax credits.
Business relief provisions
The American Rescue Plan includes significant funding for employer relief programs.
- $7.25 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
- $15 billion for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Advance Program (EIDL)
- $25 billion to support restaurants and bars impacted by COVID-19
- $15 billion for the Shuttered Venue Operator Grant Program (SVOG) to assist arts and entertainment organizations
These funds are being managed by the Small Business Administration (SBA). To learn more about these programs, visit the SBA website.