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LAW UPDATE: Families First Coronavirus Response Act

Mar 19, 2020
 

3/26 Update: 

We now have a workplace poster about the FFCRA (Families First Coronavirus Response Act) and employee rights in regards to paid sick leave and the expanded family and medical leave.

This will need to be posted with the rest of your employment posters in a common area by April 1st. There has no been specific guidance on methods to notify your remote workers but we suspect there will be soon. We will keep you updated, however, have a plan in place to provide this to remote workers such as email, posting to a payroll portal where employees regularly log in, or printing and mailing. 

If you have already laid off some of your workforce, there’s no need to alert them.

 FFCRA Workplace Post (Non-Federal)

The U.S. Department of Labor sent out a bulletin about 30 days of non-enforcement between March 18 and April 17, 2020 as long as employers act reasonably and in good faith to comply with the FFCRA. One thing to note is this does not protect you from lawsuits or willful violations. This can be a sticky situation so do your best to comply. https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/field-assistance-bulletins/2020-1

 

The U.S. DOL has provided this summary:

Key Takeaways

  • Paid Sick Leave for Workers
    For COVID-19 related reasons, employees receive up to 80 hours of paid sick leave and expanded paid child care leave when employees’ children’s schools are closed or child care providers are unavailable.
  • Complete Coverage
    Employers receive 100% reimbursement for paid leave pursuant to the act.
    • Health insurance costs are also included in the credit.
    • Employers face no payroll tax liability.
    • Self-employed individuals receive an equivalent credit.
  • Fast Funds
    Reimbursement will be quick and easy to obtain.
    • An immediate dollar-for-dollar tax offset against payroll taxes will be provided
    • Where a refund is owed, the IRS will send the refund as quickly as possible.
  • Small Business Protection
    Employers with fewer than 50 employees are eligible for an exemption from the requirements to provide leave to care for a child whose school is closed or child care is unavailable in cases where the viability of the business is threatened.

https://www.dol.gov/newsroom/releases/osec/osec20200320

 

There is also an FAQ that goes into more detail for employers : https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-questions

 

Again, if you have questions about how this applies to you and your business, please contact us!

 


3/19 Update: We spoke with Christina Gilbertson of Gilbertson Law Office to discuss the impact of FFCRA to small businesses. Watch it here:

https://youtu.be/wR_cUTw-G6s

 


March 18th, 2020 after passing the Senate in a vote of 90-8 President Trump signed into law the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. It will take effect 15 14 days from now on April 2nd, 2020 and sunset December 31, 2020. There are many different aspects to this 124-page bill introduced last week including childcare, nutrition programs, and unemployment but we will be focusing on the impacts to small businesses in this update. Let's break this down.

Emergency Family Medical Leave Expansion

Employers: 500 employees or fewer*

*Employers with less than 50 employees may apply for an exemption if it would jeopardize the viability of the business.

Eligible employees: those that have been employed with you for 30 calendar days or more.

First 10 days leave is unpaid - however employee may utilize accrued vacation time, sick time or medical leave. 

Employer is required to pay eligible employees 2/3 of their regular rate for up to 12 weeks due to a broad range of covid-19 related reasons including having to care for children whose school or care providers are unavailable due to covid-19 related reasons.

Amounts are capped at $200/day (caring for someone else) or $10,000 total.

Sick Leave

Employers will provide 80 hours of paid sick leave at regular rate if the employee has been ordered by the government to quarantine or isolate or has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine because of COVID-19. Employees could also use paid sick leave when they have symptoms of COVID-19 and are seeking a medical diagnosis, if they are caring for a relative who is in quarantine or isolation, or their child's school or child care service is closed because of the public health emergency. 

Amounts are capped at $511/day or $5110 total.

Good-ish News 

The President acknowledged in a press conference this morning that small businesses are going to need help and fast. He stated that he is working on a stimulus plan. Small/medium businesses (under 500 employees) will receive a 100% refundable tax credit. Every dollar of paid sick leave that employers are required to pay to eligible employees under the Act is offset by a refundable federal employment tax credit. As a refundable credit, employers receive full reimbursement for the paid sick leave regardless of their actual tax liability. 

Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said he is putting together a forgivable loan program for small businesses under which employers would not have to repay any assistance they accept for payroll, business, and rent or mortgage expenses. We are waiting on the SBA to approve disaster assistance for the rest of Colorado counties and will keep you updated.

We will be taking this day by day and helping our small business community figure this new employment landscape out together. 

HR Branches is providing 1 hour free consultations for Covid-19 related questions. No need to panic, we got you. 

Schedule here:

http://calendly.com/hrbranches

Or call: 719-244-9640

 

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