How FFCRA Will Benefit Employees During the Coronavirus Pandemic

 

One of the federal programs which may be available to help your business during this time is the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). According to the Department of Labor website:

 

The act requires certain employers to provide their employees with paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. The Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division administers and enforces the new law’s paid leave requirements. These provisions will apply from the effective date through December 31, 2020.

 

The paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave provisions of the FFCRA apply to certain public employers, and private employers with fewer than 500 employees.

 

Small businesses with fewer than 50 employees may qualify for exemption from the requirement to provide leave due to school closings or child care unavailability if the leave requirements would jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern.

 

What assistance does the FFCRA provide?

This act took effect on April 1, 2020. Employers have a 30-day grace period to come into compliance. As part of the act, employees receive up to 80 hours of paid sick leave and expanded paid child care leave for COVID-19 related reasons. 

 

The FFCRA qualifying reasons include if an employee is unable to work—

in-person or remotely—because they:

  • are following a local or national COVID-19 quarantine or isolation order

  • have been informed by a medical professional they must self-quarantine 

  • have COVID-19 symptoms and are awaiting a medical diagnosis

  • are caring for an individual who qualifies for quarantine or has symptoms

  • are caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed 

  • are experiencing any other substantially-similar condition 

The duration of leave and calculation of pay depends on which qualifying reason applies to the employee’s situation. These qualifying reasons and associated timing and pay calculations are explained in detail on the Department of Labor (DOL) website.

 

Employers covered by FFCRA must post a notice of FFCRA requirements on workplace premises, or the notice may be distributed to employees via email or US Mail.

 

What do you need to do to qualify, track and report for tax credits? 

According to the FFCRA, “every dollar of required paid leave, as well as the cost of the employer’s health insurance premiums during leave, will be 100% covered by a dollar-for-dollar refundable tax credit available to the employer.” 

 

To receive reimbursement, accurate, complete records regarding these claims must be provided. According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), both employees and employers must provide necessary documentation.

Employees must submit a written request for leave to the employer that includes:

  • Employee’s name

  • Date(s) for which leave is requested

  • Statement of COVID-19 reason the employee is requesting leave, with written support 

  • Statement that the employee is unable to work due to the noted reason

If the leave request is based on a quarantine order or self-quarantine advice, the statement should include:

  • Name of the governmental entity ordering quarantine

  • Name of the medical professional advising self-quarantine

  • Name of person and relation requiring quarantine (if the person subject to quarantine is not the employee)

If the leave request is due to a school or child care provider closing, the statement should include:

  • Name and age of the child requiring care

  • Name of the school or place of care that is closed

  • Representation that no other person will care for the child during the period for which the employee is receiving leave 

The IRS requires that an Eligible Employer keep all records of employment taxes for at least four years and should be available for IRS review.

 

We know that businesses and HR providers are faced with many issues and operational complications during this crisis. Our team is helping clients manage this situation and supporting their need to store and track FFCRA records and substantiation within SyncHR. 

 

Contact us to learn more about how SyncHR can help your business maintain and manage the people side of the business during the COVID-19 crisis.

 

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