The new stimulus bill was signed on December 27, and the process has begun to implement the various benefits, with a possible increase to individual stimulus checks. What was absent from this bill was any extension of the current Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), or a new program to replace the FFCRA.
The FFCRA is set to sunset later this week on December 31 (see my previous blog regarding the FFCRA).
Although Congress has failed to extend the FFCRA, the act does allow employers currently covered under the act to claim the same tax credit they would have for benefits they will voluntarily offer to employees during the time period of January 1, 2021 through March 31, 2021.
The critical difference is simply that employers are not required to provide these benefits. Additionally, this tax benefit is only available for those employees that have not already exhausted FFCRA benefits during 2020. Clearly, any employer can provide similar benefits to employees on their own without receiving the tax credit.