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Fact Sheet: The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) & the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, 33 million Americans lacked a single day of paid sick time they could use for themselves or to care for a sick family member. With a public health crisis now in effect, it is absolutely essential that we act to ensure that anyone who needs to stay home from work because they or a family member is ill can do so without having to fear for their job or lost wages.

Congress passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) in response to the growing coronavirus emergency; the President signed it into law on March 18, 2020, and it became effective on April 1, 2020. The law contained several important paid leave provisions related to the pandemic. Congress followed the FFCRA by passing a second bill, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which the President signed into law on March 27, 2020, effective immediately. The CARES Act included a number of additional paid leave and unemployment insurance provisions.

However, as of December 31, 2020, Congress allowed employees’ paid leave rights under the FFCRA to expire. Private sector employers with fewer than 500 employees who provide leaves that would have been FFCRA covered and self-employed workers can still qualify for tax credits for leaves taken through March 31, 2021.

This fact sheet includes information on the provisions as they previously existed, as well as on the continuing employer and self-employed worker tax credits.

A Better Balance is continuing to work with our partners and members of Congress to restore these essential rights while also addressing the gaps that leave many workers vulnerable during this pandemic. For model state and local public health emergency leave legislation, as well as other fact sheets, guides, and resources around paid leave and COVID-19, please visit


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