By Trüpp’s Compliance Team

EMERGENCY PAID SICK LEAVE

Emergency paid sick leave is now mandated under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. The additional sick leave provides 80 hours of paid sick leave for full time employees. Part time employees are eligible for a prorated amount equal to the average numbers of hours the employee works over a two-week period.

The emergency paid leave is in addition to what the employer already provides under state or local law. Employers are not allowed to require employees to use other accrued leave before using this emergency paid leave. Emergency paid sick leave takes effect on April 1, 2020 will end on December 31, 2020.

Step 1: Determine employer eligibility

The emergency paid leave applies to all employers with 500 or fewer employees. Employers will be required to offer paid sick leave when an employee is unable to work, or telework, for the following reasons:

  • To obtain medical care for the employee’s symptoms of COVID-19
  • To quarantine at the instruction of a health care provider, employer, or government official, to prevent the spread of COVID19
  • To care for or assist a family member who is experiencing symptoms or has been diagnosed with COVID-19
  • To care for the employee’s child whose school or place of care is closed (or childcare provider is unavailable) due to COVID-19 related reasons

Employers with 50 or less employees may be eligible for an exemption from providing paid sick leave for childcare-related absences as a result of school or daycare closures. An employer will need to document why providing this benefit would jeopardize the employer’s ability to remain an ongoing concern.  

Step 2: Determine employee eligibility

All employees are eligible for this additional sick leave immediately regardless of how long they’ve been employed.

Employers should have employees complete a leave request form that is compliant with Department of Labor (DOL) and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requirements. The IRS and DOL have released specific criteria for documenting employee eligibility and need for the leave in order for the employer to be eligible for the tax credit. Trüpp has created a free DOL/IRS compliant Employee Leave Request Form that you can download here.

Step 3: Assess the qualifying reasons

Employees can use paid sick leave based on the following qualified reasons:

  • Has obtained a medical diagnosis or care for coronavirus symptoms;
  • Self-isolates because of coronavirus diagnosis;
  • To care for their child if school is closed due to a public health emergency when an employer is closed due to public health emergency, or
  • If the employee or a covered family member is quarantined or isolated due to a coronavirus.

Employers should be aware of guidance from OSHA and many state departments of health to not require employees provide a healthcare provider’s note to validate their illness.

Step 4:  Identify benefits available to employees

Employees will be paid their regular rate up to $511 per day, except for time spent caring for a family member, in which case only 2/3 of the regular rate will be paid up to $200 per day.

Paid sick time shall not carry over from one year to the next as the Act will expire on December 31, 2020. Unused paid sick time is not paid out to employees upon separation of employment.

Step 5: Submit for reimbursement

It is recommended to create a separate pay code for this compensation to make it easier to identify when applying for the government tax credit.

Employers are required to withhold federal income taxes and the employees’ share of Social Security and Medicare taxes from their employees’ paychecks. Typically, these funds are deposited with the IRS along with filing or quarterly payroll tax returns (Form 941 series).

Employers can receive immediate reimbursement for these payments to employees by retaining and accessing funds that they would otherwise set aside for payroll taxes to the IRS during payroll processing. If these amounts are not sufficient to cover the cost of the paid leave, employers can seek an expedited advance from the IRS by submitting a streamlined claim form. Employers can expect to receive their advance from the IRS approximately two weeks after submittal.

PAID FAMILY LEAVE

The emergency paid family leave provides up to 12 weeks of paid family leave for employees who are unable to work, or telework, due to a qualifying need related to COVID-19 in order to care for a child (under the age of 18) because their school or place of care has been closed or their childcare provider is otherwise unavailable to provide care due to COVID-19.

This emergency paid family leave is an expansion of the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and is in addition to what the employer already provides under state or local law. Employers are not allowed to require employees to use other accrued leave before using this emergency paid leave. Emergency paid family leave takes effect on April 1, 2020 will end on December 31, 2020.

Step 1: Determine employer eligibility

Employers with 500 or less employees are required to offer Emergency Paid Family Leave.

Employers with 50 or less employees may be eligible for an exemption if providing the benefit will impact their ability to continue as a going concern.

Step 2: Determine employee eligibility  

All employees that have been employed for at least 30 calendar days are eligible.

Employers should have employees complete a leave request form that is compliant with Department of Labor (DOL) and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requirements. The IRS and DOL have released specific criteria for documenting employee eligibility and need for the leave in order for the employer to be eligible for the tax credit. Trüpp has created a free DOL/IRS compliant Employee Leave Request Form that you can download here.

Step 3: Assess the qualifying reason

Eligible employees may take up to 12 weeks of Emergency Paid Leave if they are unable to work, or telework, in order to care for a child under the age of 18 because their school or place of care has been closed or their childcare provider is otherwise unavailable to provide care due to COVID-19.

Step 4: Identify benefits available to employees

Eligible employees will receive up to 12 weeks of emergency paid leave through December 31, 2020. The first 10 days of an emergency family and medical leave are unpaid; however, the employee may use any other available paid leave, such as emergency paid sick leave or accrued and unused sick or vacation time.

Eligible employees will receive two-thirds of their regular rate of pay for the number of hours the employee would otherwise be regularly scheduled to work up to $200 per day and $10,000 total.

Step 5: Submit for reimbursement

It is recommended to create a separate pay code for this compensation to make it easier to identify when applying for the government tax credit.

Employers are required to withhold federal income taxes and the employees’ share of Social Security and Medicare taxes from their employees’ paychecks. Typically these funds are deposited with the IRS along with filing or quarterly payroll tax returns (Form 941 series).

Employers can receive immediate reimbursement for these payments to employees by retaining and accessing funds that they would otherwise set aside for payroll taxes to the IRS during payroll processing.  If these amounts are not sufficient to cover the cost of the paid leave, employers can seek an expedited advance from the IRS by submitting a streamlined claim form. Employers can expect to receive their advance from the IRS approximately two weeks after submittal.

You can find the Families First Coronavirus Response Act here >>

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