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Coronavirus

 

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Families First Coronavirus Response Act, H.R. 6201 (the Act)

On March 18, 2020 President Trump signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”) into law which provides a variety of relief for Americans in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This bill takes effect April 1, 2020 and will sunset on December 31, 2020.

Family First Coronavirus Response Act Summary Table


EMERGENCY PAID SICK LEAVE ACT (E-PSL)

This bill takes effect April 1 , 2020 and will sunset on December 31, 2020

The FFCRA includes the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act, which requires employers with up to 500* employees to immediately provide full-time employees with 80 hours of paid sick time. Part-time employees are entitled to paid sick time equivalent to those hours the employee works, on average, over a two-week period.

In order to utilize this paid sick time, an employee must be unable to work (or telework) due to one of the six qualifying reasons:

1. The employee is subject to a federal, state or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19;
2. The employee has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19;
3. The employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking medical diagnosis;
4. The employee is caring for an individual who is subject to a federal, state or local quarantine order, or the individual has been advised to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19;
5. The employee is caring for his/her child, if the child’s school or daycare has been closed or the child’s care provider is unavailable due to COVID-19 precautions; or
6. The employee is experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by Health and Human Services in consultation with the Department of the Treasury and the Department of Labor

*Small employers with less than 50 employees can seek a hardship waiver from the Department of Labor – however, no such regulations have been issued yet to articulate what criteria is necessary to be entitled to the hardship waiver.

Employer Restrictions & Exemptions Emergency Paid Sick Leave (Signed Act)

Amounts of Paid Sick Leave:

The paid sick time that an employee is entitled to receive under this Act is to be calculated as follows:

1. Emergency sick time relating to an employee’s own condition (see 1-3 above) is calculated based on the employee’s regular rate or applicable minimum wage, whichever is greater, but is limited to $511 per day and $5,110 total. (We will refer to this group as E-PSL payment category 1 in payment examples to follow)

2. Emergency sick time relating to situations where the employee is acting as a caregiver (see 4-6 above) is calculated based on two-thirds of the employee’s regular rate or applicable minimum wage, whichever is greater, but is limited to $200 per day and $2,000 total. (We will refer to this group as E-PSL payment category 2 in payment examples to follow)


EMERGENCY FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE EXPANSION ACT

This bill takes effect April 1, 2020 and will sunset on December 31, 2020

The Family and Medical Leave Act (“EFMLEA”) is temporarily amended to allow an employee to take up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave provided they meet the following criteria:

EFMLEA Eligibility Criteria

In addition to amending eligibility criteria, EFMLEA is providing a portion of paid time.

Benefit Payment

*As with the paid sick time provisions, small businesses with fewer than 50 employees may be exempted from providing this emergency EFMLEA leave by the Secretary of Labor if providing such would jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern.


TAX CREDITS

Employers can receive tax credits for 100 percent of the qualified paid sick and paid family and medical leave wages paid to employees (with the limits – underlined and bolded).

Qualified Sick Leave WagesIn the case of an employer, a credit is allowed against the employer’s portion of the social security tax under IRC § 3111(a), which is generally at the rate of 6.2% of an employee’s wages (subject to a wage cap), for each calendar quarter equal to 100% of the “qualified sick leave wages” paid by such employer with respect to such calendar quarter.

“Qualified sick leave wages” means wages and compensation paid by an employer to employee, which are required to be paid by reason of the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act.

Amount of Qualified Sick Leave Wages Taken into Account
The amount of “qualified sick leave wages” taken into account in determining the tax credit with respect to any employee generally shall not exceed $200, or $511 (in certain cases when the employee is subject to a quarantine order, has been advised to self-quarantine, or is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19) for any day (or partial day) for which the employee is paid qualified sick leave wages. This is on a per day (or partial day) basis. Nevertheless, there appears to be a 10 day aggregate limitation on the number of days taken into account with respect to each employee.

Qualified Family Leave Wages – In the case of an employer, a credit is allowed against the employer’s portion of the social security tax for such calendar quarter up to 100% of the “qualified family leave wages” paid by the employer with respect to such calendar quarter.

“Qualified family leave wages” means wages and compensation paid by an employer which are required to be paid by the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act, including when an employee is unable to work due to the need to leave to care for a child who is unable to go school or a child care provider.

Amount of Qualified Family Leave Wages Taken into Account
The amount of qualified family leave wages taken into account in determining the tax credit with respect to any individual shall not exceed $200 for any day, or partial day, for which the individual is paid qualified family leave wages and, $10,000, in the aggregate with respect to all calendar quarters.

Wages paid by reason of the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act and the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act are not considered wages for purposes of IRC § 3111(a) and therefore are not subject to the 6.2% Excise Tax (the Employer’s Portion of the Social Security Tax Imposed on the Employee’s Wages)

Credit Limitation
The payroll tax credits shall not exceed the employer’s portion of social security taxes for such calendar quarter on the wages paid with respect to all employees of the employer. However, any excess credit amount (i.e., if the credit exceeds the employer’s portion of social security taxes for a calendar quarter) shall be a refundable tax credit to the employer.

Note: the credit allowed under the above may be increased by certain qualified health plan expenses of the employer properly allocable to the qualified sick leave wages for which such credit is allowed.

IRS Guidance on the tax credits is available at the website below:

https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/treasury-irs-and-labor-announce-plan-to-implement-coronavirus-related-paid-leave-for-workers-and-tax-credits-for-small-and-midsize-businesses-to-swiftly-recover-the-cost-of-providing-coronavirus

 

Special Notification for Non-Profits 

Houses Passes COVID-19 Relief Bill With Nonprofit Provisions


What Should You Do To Prepare

1. Create two new sick leave and EFMLEA payroll codes in your payroll and time and attendance system in preparation for utilization. The codes will allow you to efficiently track which benefit tier they are eligible for when processing payroll and provide reporting capabilities when submitting for the tax credit.

• Example code reference: ESICK1(refers to EPSL payment category 1 above – criteria 1,2 and 3)
• Example code reference: ESICK2 (refers to EPSL payment category 2 above – criteria 4, 5 and 6)
• Example code reference: EFMLEA1 (refers to the first 10 unpaid days on EFMLEA)
• Example code reference: EFMLEA2 (refers to the subsequent PAID days on EFMLEA)

2. If you have an employee who is unable to work from home due to one of the eligible 6 criteria, ensure this away time is charged and recorded to the new applicable code.
3. Review how this may run concurrent with EFMLEA. Ensure tracking is done against all codes as applicable.
4. When processing payroll, you will calculate their pay based on their eligibility. Ensure you recalculate if their situation changes from EPSL to EFMLEA.

 


Workers Compensation


Unemployment


Filing for Unemployment

 


Link to Current Unemployment Q&A related to COVID-19

http://jfs.ohio.gov/ouio/CoronavirusAndUI.stm


OSHA


Guide: OSHA Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19

https://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3990.pdf


Applicable Employment Laws

The following laws may come into play when working dealing with COVID-19.


SBA Loans


SBA Disaster Assistance Resource Link

Includes overview of eligible areas for SBA disaster loans as well as a link to apply for a loan.

https://www.sba.gov/disaster-assistance/coronavirus-covid-19


Ohio Stay Home Order

For more information specific to your organization, please contact our Resource Center at

ResourceCenter@HR-Elements.com or call 513.313.0512.

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