Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

What you need to know about the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and American Rescue Plan Act

Learn how you can help your employees find relief from COVID-19 with paid leave.

What is the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and American Rescue Plan Act?

In response to the COVID-19 situation, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) was passed. The act provided support to individuals and small businesses affected by COVID-19. In March 2021, the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) was passed, providing updates to the provisions detailed in the FFCRA.

Note: If you have any questions regarding the FFCRA or ARPA, please contact your accountant or legal professional.

If you have fewer than 500 employees, you'll have access to three new provisions to help your business and your employees during this time. The law went into effect on April 1, 2020 and after being partially extended, expired on March 31, 2021. If you have fewer than 50 employees, you may be able to get a waiver exempting your business from these new requirements.

Update: With the passage of the Consolidated Appropriations Act and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, employers can continue to voluntarily allow leave through September 30, 2021. Due to changes in taxability and available options with ARPA, review the links and other info below to make sure you have the leave set up correctly in your payroll plan.

Enter this paid leave time in QuickBooks

Select the product that you use to learn how to pay your employees affected by COVID-19:

Enter CA COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave in QuickBooks
Pay employees under the California COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave

What do I need to do about the Coronavirus Response Act?

Provide National Paid Sick Leave to your employees due to COVID-19

National Paid Sick Leave allows your employees to get paid sick leave for either of these two reasons:

  • They’re sick and quarantined from COVID-19
  • They’re taking care of a family member who is sick or impacted with COVID-19
Note: ARPA reset the hours of paid leave available. Employees get 80 new hours of leave to use between April 1, 2021 and September 1, 2021. You can count these new hours toward appropriate payroll tax credits.

When a full-time employee is impacted or sick from COVID-19 and quarantined, they can receive up to 80 hours of paid sick leave at 100% of pay over a two-week period. Part-time employees can receive an average amount of hours they’d work over a two-week period.

When a full-time or part-time employee needs to take care of someone who is sick or impacted with COVID-19, they can receive up to 80 hours of paid sick leave at 2/3 of the employee's average rate of pay.

Note: ARPA expanded the paid leave to include employees who need time off to receive or recover from the COVID-19 vaccine.

As the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve, the stipulations for taking paid leave may change. If 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, they use the paid leave.

Provide employees with public health emergency leave under the FMLA

Although the Family and Medical Leave Act traditionally has required employers to provide unpaid leave for qualifying circumstances, the Coronavirus Response Act amended the FMLA to add a paid-leave requirement related to COVID-19.

After 10 days of unpaid leave, a period of paid leave would follow for employees who need to care for children younger than 18 whose school or child-care facility is closed because of the virus or whose child-care provider is unavailable because of the outbreak.

This leave provision is available to all employees who have worked for you for at least 30 days regardless of the number of hours worked. Employees can elect to use another form of leave to cover the first 10 days of unpaid leave, including the new National Paid Sick leave, but are not required to do so.

Use a Federal tax credit to pay for the cost of providing leave to your employees

Once the law goes into effect, you can apply for these tax credits when you run payroll. By entering this leave time in your QuickBooks Online Payroll or QuickBooks Desktop Payroll, you’ll be able to immediately apply 100 percent of the qualified leave wages to reduce and/or receive a refund of your Federal Payroll Tax liability amount due. This includes any health care premiums you pay on behalf of your employees.

In the next few weeks, QuickBooks will be helping you apply these credits to your payroll to ensure you’re compliant and using these credits correctly.

Where can I find more information?

If you have any more questions about the act, check out:

If you're looking for resources on operating your business during these challenging times, see our:

Was this helpful?

You must sign in to vote, reply, or post
Sign in for the best experience
Ask questions, get answers, and join our large community of QuickBooks users.
Sign In / Sign Up

Need to get in touch?

Contact us