In the latest Weekly Wright Report:
- UPDATE – FFCRA May be Voluntarily Extended by Employers Until March 31, 2021- read now
- New Years Resolutions to Get in Shape (Professionally, that is) – read now
UPDATE – FFCRA May be Voluntarily Extended by Employers Until March 31, 2021
When the Families First Coronavirus Response Act was enacted in March, it had a built-in expiration date of December 31, 2020. Given that the pandemic is still ongoing, the stimulus bill passed by Congress on December 22, and signed into law by President Trump on December 27, 2020, amends the FFCRA to permit employers to continue to claim a tax credit to cover the cost of providing FFCRA-covered leave if they voluntarily allow employees to continue using leave mandated by the FFCRA until March 31, 2021.
The amendment to the FFCRA has two important components. First, and most notably, the amendment does not provide employees with any additional leave beyond that originally provided under the FFCRA. In other words, if an employee has already used their full balance of available leave under the FFCRA, they are not entitled to take any additional leave under the FFCRA. Second, the extension is voluntary for employers. To ensure that employees know whether they will be entitled to continue to use their FFCRA leave balances, employers should inform their employees as to whether they are voluntarily allowing employees to continue to use FFCRA leave after January 1 as soon as possible.
If an employer does not voluntarily extend the deadline for employees, or employees have already exhausted their available leave under the FFCRA, employers will still have to decide how to address employee leave requests after January 1, 2021. Assuming that the need for leave complies with appropriate use of sick or other family leave under local law or the employer’s policy, then employees will likely use paid sick leave if they are unable to work due to their own illness or a family member’s illness. However, if the employee is unable to work due to exposure to someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, it is not clear that they would be entitled to use paid sick leave and any leave policy would be subject to the employer’s discretion. Similarly, if an employee is unable to report to work in-person due to school or daycare closures, the availability of leave or a modified schedule for this reason is likely to be subject to the employers’ discretion. Employers will also need to evaluate whether unpaid leave, whether as an ADA accommodation or under the Family and Medical Leave Act, is available to cover employee absences for COVID-19-related leave.
If you have questions about how your business should address leave related to COVID-19 after the expiration of the FFCRA, please contact our Employment & Labor Law practice group.
New Years Resolutions to Get in Shape (Professionally, that is)
Most of us can’t wait for 2020 to come to a close so we can welcome a new year with fresh perspective, optimism and opportunity.
New year’s resolutions are a time-honored tradition, as is breaking them. Psychologists have done lots of research on how to form achievable resolutions (be specific) and how to succeed in keeping them (repetition and accountability). Here, I’ve gathered 5 resolutions targeted to improving your professional life and productivity. Consider one, two, or all of them for you and your team.
- Commit to unsubscribing. Email takes up a substantial amount of the work day and we wind up on all kinds of mailing lists. Make it a point to not just delete spam and unwanted solicitations, but to actively unsubscribe from those lists. The minute or two invested will pay off over and over as incoming spam dwindles.
- Evaluate your participation in trade groups and professional organizations. Choose one that is meaningful for you in terms of professional or business development and step up your involvement this year by joining a committee, seeking a leadership role, or committing to attend events regularly. Make the most of your membership dues and really engage.
- Resolve to focus on positive feedback and make it a point to give compliments, inside and outside of your organization. Especially in a remote environment, feedback is a necessity, but we too often gloss over celebrating the good in favor of correcting the bad. Taking just a brief moment to commend a colleague, vendor, or customer improves morale and increases communication, and makes any necessary constructive feedback more balanced and seen as a welcome opportunity to improve rather than as an insult.
- Identify a new topic, relevant or adjacent to your role, and dedicate a little time each week or month to learning about it. One area that goes by the wayside for many companies and organizations is data security. Consider joining our free virtual Cybersecurity Q&A and networking event on January 14th for an introduction to current issues to kickstart your newfound expertise. You can sign up here.
- Find a mentor and a mentee. At all stages in your career, you have both something to grow into (even at the end, transition to retirement) and something to look back on. Make sure that you have a valued mentor to help you think through you next steps and a mentee to pass along your lessons learned. Both relationships are rewarding and link us together as professionals within an industry.
In 2020, many of us learned the importance of personal and professional balance in an uncontrollable situation of having to practice our careers from home or in isolated offices. In 2021, make the most of that balance by prioritizing these worthwhile resolutions to keep your work time productive, thought-provoking, and meaningful.
Want more? Visit the Weekly Wright Report page to browse past issues.