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Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)

What is Count On LLC doing to support the payroll changes needed for the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)?

Count On LLC continues to review implementation guidance related to the FFCRA from federal agencies.  We are updating our systems to support you during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.

Here’s what we know as of Monday, March 30, 2020:

·         The effective date for the FFCRA is Wednesday, April 1, 2020.

·         The leave provisions of the FFCRA generally apply to all private employers with fewer than 500 employees.

·         Eligible employees with a qualifying need related to the COVID-19 public health pandemic as specified in the FFCRA will be entitled to paid leave as of April 1, 2020.

·         Each covered employer must post a notice of the FFCRA requirements in a conspicuous place on its premises.   

·         Covered employers will be entitled to tax credits in the specified amount under the law for the benefits paid to eligible employees for qualified leave taken under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act and the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act between April 1, 2020, and December 31, 2020.

Return to these FAQs for the most up-to-date details about requirements of the Act, employer tax credits, and reporting sick time.

What is covered in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act?

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act was signed into law March 18, 2020. The Act dedicates tens of billions of dollars for paid sick and family leave, unemployment insurance, free COVID-19 testing, and other measures to help Americans impacted by the crisis.

The final bill will take effect for covered employers no later than 15 days after enactment and sunsets Dec. 31, 2020.

Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act

·         Under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act, employers would be required to provide sick time, available for immediate use, to each employee who requires such time for qualifying reasons associated with COVID-19.

·         Employers also must provide up to 80 hours of paid sick leave (PSL) to eligible full-time employees and pro-rate part-time employee paid sick time based on the average number of hours regularly scheduled in a two-week period. The calculation and caps for compensation vary dependent on the reason for leave up to the maximum $511 per day if the employee is directly impacted and up to $200 per day if it is for care provided to someone else. Aggregate caps exist as well.

Requirements

·         Employees who have worked at least 30 calendar days for a covered employer would be eligible for qualifying leave.

·         Small businesses with fewer than 50 employees may be exempt if the leave would jeopardize the viability of their business. Employers with fewer than 25 employees may be exempt from certain provisions related to job protection.

·         Qualifying need is defined as “the employee is unable to work (or telework) due to a need for leave to care for a son or daughter younger than 18 years of age of such employee if the school (meaning a primary or secondary school only) or place of care has been closed, or the childcare provider of such a son or daughter is unavailable due to a public health emergency.”

·         Eligible employees who qualify for leave under these reasons would be paid by their employer after the first 10 days of leave at a rate of not less than two-thirds of their current rate of pay for the number of hours the employee would otherwise be scheduled to work, up to a maximum of $200 per day or an aggregate of $10,000, for up to 12 weeks in the benefit year.

·         Employees taking leave under the Emergency FML Expansion Act must be permitted to elect to use any available paid time off including vacation, personal time, medical leave, and/or sick leave during the first 10 days of their FMLA leave.

·         Standards for employees covered under a multiple-employer bargaining agreement are addressed separately in the legislation.

·         Exemptions apply for employers of healthcare workers and emergency responders.


What are the tax credits I have heard about?

The law provides for a 100% tax credit on Paid Sick Leave and Paid Family Leave paid by employers under the provisions of this Act.

Count On LLC working in concert with our industry coalition, the National Payroll Reporting Consortium (NPRC), to urge tax agency adoption of rules that can be easily and quickly administered or implemented for the FFCRA. More details will be shared as we have them.

What if I already offer paid time off to my employees?

Employers cannot require their employees to take paid time off before using paid sick leave under this Act. These benefits are in addition to any existing sick time policies at your company.

Is there anything specific that I need to do to report time or track hours to qualify for the tax credit?

Yes, new earnings are being added into our payroll system to track the wages according to the benefits in the Act. We’re working in concert with our industry coalition, the National Payroll Reporting Consortium (NPRC), to urge tax agency adoption of rules that can be easily and quickly administered or implemented for the FFCRA When further IRS guidance to understand when employers can begin using these new earnings. are available, we will let you know and provide more detailed instructions.

I need to report paid sick time for my employees. Can I use the new paid sick time today?

We are working to implement these new earnings and will let you know as soon as they’re available. We’re working in concert with our industry coalition, the National Payroll Reporting Consortium (NPRC), to urge tax agency adoption of rules that can be easily and quickly administered or implemented for the FFCRA. In the meantime, please process your payroll as normal, but keep track of any wages that are paid for COVID-19-related absences. As we receive guidance from the IRS, we will help you ensure you can take advantage of the benefits.

I don’t have a paid sick time policy at my company. Am I required to pay workers out for COVID-19 now due to this act?

We’re working in concert with our industry coalition, the National Payroll Reporting Consortium (NPRC), to urge tax agency adoption of rules that can be easily and quickly administered or implemented for the FFCRA. If you choose to pay sick time to your employees now, before we have guidance from the IRS, please keep track of those hours.

Do I need to still call in payroll each week for an individual who is affected by COVID-19?

If you are considered a covered employer, your employees are eligible for wages up to the maximum cap. For you to take advantage of the benefits of the Act, those wages need to be included in your payroll reporting/processing.

Can you stop tax withdrawals from my account because of “Payroll tax deferments/credits?

Our tax team is managing these cases, please contact your normal payroll contact and they’ll connect you to this team.

If employees are unable to work remotely, can I direct them to use up their vacation time before they have to be laid off?

Nothing in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act requires you to cover employees due to the inability to work because of the location of business shutdowns. Employees may have the choice to use paid leave or forego pay during that period. However, employers must review any applicable state or local law or ordinance that requires employers to provide paid leave and ensure compliance with the same.

What do I do if I cannot send my employees to work from home and they are uncomfortable to work due to shelter-in-place orders?

The Act does not include any provision for paying employees who are unable to work from home and are not able to go to work because of a shelter-in-place order.