In March, Congress passed the Families First Coronavirus Relief Act (FFCRA) which, among many other things, created sick pay and family medical leave pay for employees to use during the pandemic. This law allows employees to safely get tested, quarantine, and recover from COVID as appropriate while still getting paid and keeping the rest of your employees and customers safe.
All sick pay requirements created under FFCRA are fully refundable to you as the employer.
There are two provisions of the FFCRA: Sick Pay & FMLA
Employees are eligible for FFCRA Sick Pay for up to 80 hours at full pay if they meet any one of the following criteria:
- is subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19; (“Stay at home” order doesn’t count!)
- has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine related to COVID-19;
- is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and is seeking a medical diagnosis;
- is caring for an individual subject to an order described in (1) or self-quarantine as described in (2);
- is caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed (or child care provider is unavailable) for reasons related to COVID-19; or
- is experiencing any other substantially-similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the Secretaries of Labor and Treasury.
Employees may receive FFCRA Family Medical Leave at 2/3 pay for 10 weeks if they are:
- caring for his or her child whose school or place of care is closed (or child care provider is unavailable) due to COVID-19 related reasons.
Documenting COVID-19 Sick Pay
The Department of Labor has released new guidance related to the administration of the FFCRA and answered more common questions on their Q&A page. Here are a few highlights:
- Documentation: Employers may request an official “request for time off” under FFCRA, but not more. You may not require a doctor’s note for example. Download a template for employees who are requesting time off under FFCRA here.
- Childcare provider: The definition of childcare provider includes anyone who generally cares for the children in question. This includes individuals paid to provide childcare, like nannies, au pairs, and babysitters, as well as individuals who provide childcare at no cost and without a license on a regular basis, for example, grandparents, aunts, uncles, or a neighbor.
- Reasons for Self-Quarantine: Employees are only eligible for COVID-19 paid sick leave if a health care provider directs or advises them to self-quarantine because the health care provider believes the employee may have COVID-19 or is particularly vulnerable to COVID-19.
Paying out Sick Pay & FMLA
If you have employees who have been impacted by COVID and are eligible to use this provision, please contact your payroll processor so that we may set up the required earnings in your company.
Once we process a payroll with the sick pay, we will reimburse you for the total amount of the sick pay, with taxes, in the very same payroll. This will be taken as a credit against any 941 taxes that need to be remitted to the government. You will see a credit to you on the payroll summary.