Emergency Leaves Under The American Rescue PlanOpen the PDF below for information that will help you determine how your business may be impacted by ARP.
Emergency Leaves Under The Families First Coronavirus Response ActOpen the PDFs below for flow charts that help you determine how your business may be impacted by FFCRA.
NEW COVID-19 UPDATES
The American Rescue Plan
THURSDAY, MARCH 11
On March 11, 2021, President Joe Biden signed the American Rescue Plan into law. The new law includes changes to the tax credits related to FFCRA, extended unemployment benefits, extended COBRA requirements, additional individual stimulus checks, and much more.
- The Families First Act Coronavirus Response Act’s (FFCRA) opt–in or opt-out tax credit provisions have been extended. The opt–in period is for the timeframe of April 1, 2021, to September 30, 2021.
- Starting on April 1, 2021, the Emergency Paid Sick Leave (ESPL) hours and dollar amounts paid to employees under the FFCRA will reset. This means that employees who previously took 80 hours of Emergency Paid Sick Leave under the FFCRA will be eligible for an additional 80 hours to use between April 1, 2021, to September 30, 2021.
- Guidance regarding the rest of the Emergency Family and Medical Leave (EFMLA) has yet to be provided by the Department of Labor. Depending on the interpretation of the law, employees may be entitled to receive an additional 12 weeks of EFMLA, if eligible.
- In addition to the six reasons for leave set forth in the FFCRA, the new law added two provisions that will fall under reason number 3.
- Employers may now also offer EFMLA for all FFCRA–qualifying reasons for leave (i.e., those previously only offered for Emergency Paid Sick Leave, including the two newly added reasons above), and receive a tax credit. Previously under the FFCRA, EFMLA was only available for leave needed to care for a child whose school was closed or whose caregiver was unavailable due to COVID–19.
FFCRA Tax Credit Extended into 2021
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 27
New legislation known as the COVID-19 Relief Package, was recently passed to provide additional economic relief in response to the coronavirus pandemic. This package has been negotiated over the past several months and addresses many key areas including the Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) and Expanded Family and Medical Leave Act (EFMLA) required for employers with fewer than 500 employees under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).
Employers need to know the following regarding the emergency leaves under the FFCRA:
- Offering EPSL and EFMLA after December 31, 2020, will become optional for employers through March 31, 2021.
- Employees will no longer be entitled by law to take EPSL or EFMLA, even if they have a qualifying reason unless the employer opts into offering the paid leaves.
- Employers who choose to offer these paid leaves can still receive a tax credit if they follow the current EPSL and EFMLA rules, including job protection.
- Employees will not be awarded new hours to use under the FFCRA. The unused portion of their original allotment that remains on January 1, 2021, is how much they will have available to use through March 31, 2021.
- For example, if an employee used 48 hours under the ESPL prior to January 1, 2021, then the employee would only have 32 hours of the total 80-hour allotment left to use under the ESPL through March 31, 2021.
- Please note that under the EFMLA, employers with 50 or more employees and an established FMLA policy using a calendar year period may need to reset the allotted hours under the EFMLA. Please contact us for further information if you believe this affects your organization.
- If you are a TPC client and would like to opt-in to offering the emergency leaves through March 31, 2020, please complete the form that was sent out and submit it to your CSR.
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 1
An individual generally is entitled to FFCRA’s paid sick leave regardless of how much leave has been taken under the FMLA, the DOL said in recent guidance, but if someone takes paid sick leave concurrently with the first two weeks of Emergency Family and Medical Leave, which otherwise would be unpaid, those two weeks do count toward the 12 workweeks in the 12-month period.
Additionally, to resolve inconsistencies between the FFCRA’s paid sick time and expanded Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provisions, DOL said it would set the unpaid period for emergency FMLA leave at two weeks, rather than 10 days. “As a practical matter, the unpaid period for employees who work regular Monday-through-Friday schedules would still be ten days because that is the number of days they would work in two weeks,” DOL said.
Among other things, the regulations make clear that an employee may elect to use — or an employer may require that an employee use — paid time off such as vacation or personal time concurrently with expanded family and medical leave.
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 1
The DOL/IRS said that the employee must provide a signed statement containing:
- The employee’s name.
- The date(s) for which leave is requested.
- The coronavirus-qualifying reason for leave.
- A statement that the employee can’t work or telework because of this reason.
The DOL/IRS said that an individual requesting under the emergency paid sick leave and emergency family and medical expansion leave must provide:
- The name and age of the child being cared for.
- The name of the school, place of care or childcare provider that closed or became unavailable due to coronavirus reasons.
- A statement representing that no other suitable person is available to care for the child during the period of the requested leave.
- A statement with respect to the employee’s inability to work or telework because of a need to provide care for a child older than fourteen years of age during daylight hours and a statement regarding the special circumstances.
DOL Interperation Update
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 1
The DOL also released further interpretation stating that “quarantine or isolation order” does include a shelter-in-place or stay-at-home order issued by the government. Several U.S. states, municipalities, and counties are currently under these orders; this means any employee working for a covered employer in these covered areas will be entitled to Emergency Paid Sick Leave under reason number 1 if they cannot perform the job remotely. The only individuals excluded from this provision are health care providers and emergency responders or companies who have received an exemption from the Secretary of Labor.
Friday, March 27
The President signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act)
. The new law is a $2 trillion economic stimulus package designed to repair the economic damage caused by COVID-19 and provide additional protection to individuals and businesses who may lose income due to the pandemic.
Friday, March 27
The DOL release their interpretation FAQs on their Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Questions and Answers webpage.
The major highlights include; these leaves are not available to employees with reduced hours, furloughed employees, or employees whose workplaces are closed; these leaves are not available to employees whose workplaces are closed due to a federal, state, or local shelter-in-place or stay-at-home orders, or due to business slowdowns; both emergency paid sick leave (EPSL) and emergency Family and Medical Leave (EFMLA) can be taken on an intermittent basis in certain situations.
Wednesday, March 25
The wage and hour bulletin released a statement saying “That the non-enforcement period runs from the date of enactment of the FFCRA (March 18), not the effective date of the FMLA expansion and paid sick leave provisions (April 1).”
Tuesday, March 24
The Department of Labor (DOL) announced that the effective date of the leaves available through the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) will be April 1, 2020.
Tuesday, March 24
The DOL announced, “You have fewer than 500 employees if, at the time your employee’s leave is to be taken, you employ fewer than 500 full-time and part-time employees within the United States, which includes any State of the United States, the District of Columbia, or any Territory or possession of the United States.”
DOL PTO Update
Friday, April 24
The DOL announced that paid time off that is (a) available to an employee under the employer’s policies and (b) allows the employee to care for her child or children because their school or place of care is closed or unavailable for a COVID-19 related reason, may run concurrently with the FFCRA’s emergency paid Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave, DOL said. An employer may require that the leaves in this scenario be run concurrently. Employers may not, however, run employer-provided paid time off concurrently with the FFCRA’s paid sick time.
If an employer requires that non-FFCRA paid time off be run concurrently with emergency paid FMLA leave, it must pay the employee’s full pay during that leave until the employee has exhausted available paid time off under the employer’s plan, DOL said, including vacation and/or personal leave. The employer in this situation may only obtain tax credits for wages paid at two-thirds the employee’s regular rate of pay, up to $200 per day or $10,000 total.
FRIDAY, APRIL 3
Documentation: Employers may not require more documentation from employees than is described below. For instance, employers may not request a doctor’s note or an official notice from a closed school or daycare.
EPSL due to Stay-at-Home Orders: In some narrow circumstances, an employee who is subject to a stay-at-home order may be able to receive EPSL. They will only be eligible if the business is open and has work for them to do, but a stay-at-home order that applies specifically to them as an individual prevents them from working. For instance, if the retail store where an employee works as a cashier is still open, but the employee is over 65 and subject to an executive order from their governor that all people over 65 should stay home, they would be eligible for EPSL.
FEDERAL AND STATE RESOURCES
- MO Department of Health and Human Services
- MO Department of Labor
- Missouri SBDC
- File an Unemployment Claim
- Missouri Department of Public Safety
- COVID-19 Hotline: 877-435-8411
Department of Labor Resources
- AR Department of Human Services
- AEDC COVID-19 Resources
- AR Small Business and Technology Development Center
- AR Division of Workforce Services
- File an Unemployment Claim
- COVID-19 Resources for Businesses and Employees
- Arkansas Division of Emergency Management
- UAMS Help Hotline: 800-632-4502
Small Businesses Resources
- COVID-19 Small Business Guidance & Loan Resources
- Disaster Loan Assistance
- Small Business Administration Loans
- Apply for SBA Assistance
State and Federal Downloadable ResourcesOpen the PDFs below for information that will help your business learn about the state and federal resources and announcements.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Need more answers? Submit your questions below.
HELPFUL SOURCESWe’ve collected credible sources to keep you informed with accurate information and to provide tips on how to prevent the spread of coronavirus among your employees.
- Practicing hand hygiene is a simple yet effective way to prevent the spread of germs. It’s important to be vigilant about practicing healthy hygiene habits.
- Keeping the workplace safe.
- Stop the spread of germs at work.
- We recommend that your organization comply with the following regarding the Centers for Disease Control’s preventative protocol: Cleaning and Disinfection Recommendations and Steps to Prevent Illness.
- CDC guidance on the Use of Cloth Face Coverings.
- Forbes guidance on Everything You Need to Know About Wearing Masks.
- Guidance on keeping the workplace safe: OSHA – Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19.
- We recommend that your organization comply with The President’s Coronavirus Guidelines for America and the Centers for Disease Control’s preparation protocol Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers.
Need assistance in managing your HR function?
TPC Vision offers a full-service platform designed around facilitating, streamlining, and enhancing a company’s payroll, human resources, and employee benefits functions. Let us assist with your HR compliance, employee handbook, recruiting, onboarding/ offboarding, performance management, training, and employee relations through a comprehensive and cost-effective solution to human capital management.
Click here to get more information!