Paid Leave and COBRA Under the American Rescue Plan Act - Q&A for Employers

HR Compliance

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On March 11, 2021, President Joe Biden signed into law the third COVID-19 relief package, called the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). ARPA reintroduces the option for employers to pay leave time for reasons related to COVID-19 absences from April 1, 2021, through September 30, 2021. Similar to FFCRA, paid leave time under ARPA applies to private employers with fewer than 500 employees. Covered employers may choose to offer either EPSL, EFMLA, both, or neither.

ARPA also added a COBRA subsidy for qualifying individuals affected by workforce reductions during the pandemic. This employer-administered benefit provides the option for temporary coverage to Assistance Eligible Individuals (AEI). Unlike EPSL and EFMLA, the COBRA subsidy is not optional and must be offered to all AEI.

MRA has compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions to help members navigate through and manage these requirements. 

Updated 4/7/21

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