Public Sector Employers & COVID-19

The FFCRA included two employment provisions to expand eligibility for Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave and to make emergency paid sick leave available to more workers. Both expansions would be in effect until Dec. 31, 2020. Under the law, public and private sector employers are not required to pay FICA taxes on the paid leave wages under both emergency provisions (see JCT explanation link below), although employers must still withhold the employee share of FICA taxes.

Further, public sector employers are prohibited from being eligible for the payroll tax credit made available to private sector employers included in the FFCRA. Private sector employers would be able to use the credits against their portion of the tax paid for all other wages paid to all employees. The CRRSA, enacted in December 2020, extended the availability of the credit for private sector employers but did not extend the paid leave mandate.