COVID-19 Update: What Employers Need to Know
What employers need to know:
Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act and the Emergency Family, Medical Leave Act, Updated Dates for Tax Filings and Gift Offices Update
Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act
The Act requires that employers with 500 or fewer employees (used to be 50 or more) provide paid sick leave to all employees for any of the following reasons:
- The employee is subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19;
- The employee has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19;
- The employee has been advised to obtain a medical diagnosis or care if experiencing the symptoms of COVID-19;
- The employee is caring for an individual who is subject to an order as described in bullet point 1 or 2 above;
- The employee is caring for a son or daughter under 18 years of age if the child’s school has been closed or the child care provider is not available due to COVID-19; or
- The employee is experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services.
Full time employees will be eligible for up to 80 hours of paid sick time, and part time employees will be eligible for a number of hours equal to the number of hours that part time employee typically works over a two-week period. Employees will be permitted to use the emergency paid sick leave before accessing PTO or other paid leave the employer has previously provided. The amount of pay due under Emergency Sick Leave is dependent upon the reason for the sick leave. If leave is for one of the first three bullet points above, the payment is based on the employee’s regular rate of pay and is capped at $511 per day and $5,110 total. If the need for leave is for any other qualifying reason, payment is two-thirds of the employee’s regular rate of pay, with a cap of $200 per day and a total of $2,000.
Expansion of Family and Medical Leave Act
The Act requires that employers with 500 or fewer (used to be 50 or more) provide paid medical leave to all employees who have been employed for 30 days or more. The following are the highlights of the expanded FMLA entitlements.
- Eligible employees will be permitted to take paid FMLA leave if the employee is unable to work (or telework) due to a need to care for a son or daughter under 18 years of age if the child’s school has been closed or the child care provider is not available due to a public health emergency.
- The first 10 days of the FMLA leave used for these purposes can be unpaid, but an employee may elect to use the Emergency Paid Sick Leave provided under the Act (if eligible) or other available paid leave during the initial 10 day period.
- Eligible employees will receive two thirds of their regular rate of pay for the remaining 10 weeks, up to a maximum of $200/day and $10,000 total.
- Healthcare benefits must continue during the leave of absence.
Employees will have job protection during this leave, but there are some exceptions to this requirement for small businesses.
The Families First Act provides for a tax credit program that is intended to reimburse employers for 100 percent of the costs of the paid Sick Leave and Paid FMLA leave in the vast majority of cases. Employers will receive a credit or a refund of their federal wage taxes to cover these costs. The credit will work through the employer’s portion of social security and Medicare taxes for each quarter in an amount equal to qualified wages. Some limits do apply.
PA Unemployment Comp Benefits
Please note that the UC waiting week has been suspended. Eligible claimants may receive benefits for the first week that they are unemployed.
The fastest way to apply is online: https://www.paclaims.pa.gov/UCEN/
Please be patient — due to high demand, the UC system may experience intermittent slowness. The UC team is working hard to process your claims.
For more information, visit ➡️ http://uc.pa.gov
Tax Filing Deadlines
The IRS has extended both the time to file and the time to pay your federal taxes to July 15, 2020. We will keep you posted should this change.
Office Support and Hours
Gift CPAs will be working remotely to service all our valued clients. Please do not hesitate to email any of us or call us. Our telephones will be on auto-attendant. The auto-attendant directory will allow you to dial your support member directly. Thank you for trusting Gift CPAs with your accounting, tax and payroll needs.
Together, we will get through this. Stay safe and healthy.