Here’s today’s entry in our daily digest designed to keep you updated with the ways the COVID-19 outbreak may affect your business.
• The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) is active, and you must implement Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA) and Emergency Family and Medical Leave Act (EFMLA) policies now. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has given employers a 30-day grace period to comply with FFCRA, but don’t wait to get started. Stanton Law’s FFCRA Compliance Package is ready and includes EPSLA and EFMLA policies, leave request forms, and talking points to help promulgate and explain your new FFCRA policies. We’ve updated it with the recent IRS guidance (discussed below) and will continue to keep you current as agencies further flesh out FFCRA. Please email [email protected] for details on fees and methods for securing your package and implementation assistance.
• The IRS released the following guidance regarding FFCRA. While most of the material covered is more tax information than employment law, the guidance did touch on some key information for employers implementing a FFCRA leave policy. Questions 44, 45, and 46 address the kinds of documents an employer needs to substantiate a claim for tax credits under FFCRA. Employers, therefore, will need to ensure they have the following information:
o Written requests from employees including (a) the employee’s name, (b) the dates covered by the leave request, (c) a statement of the COVID-19-related reason for which the employee is requesting leave and written support for such reason, and (d) a statement confirming that the employee is unable to work (including telework) due to the covered reasons.
o If requested leave is based on a quarantine, a statement from the employee that includes the government entity issuing the quarantine or the name of the healthcare provider advising self-quarantine.
o If the requested leave is based on school closures, a statement that (a) identifies the names of the children for whom the leave is requested, (b) identifies the names of the schools or childcare providers that are closed or unavailable, (c) includes a representation that no other person will be providing care for the child during the period of requested leave, and (d) if the leave requested is based on care for children over the age of 14, provides the special circumstances requiring the employee to care for such children.
o Stanton Law’s FFCRA Compliance Package reflects this IRS guidance in its forms and policies. If you have any questions regarding this package or how to secure it, please email [email protected].
• Today we will closely look at another Q&A from the updated DOL guidance. Question 47 asks “[m]ay I use paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave together for any COVID-19-related reasons?” The answer to this question is no. EPSLA has six (narrow) qualifying reasons for paid sick leave. EFMLA has only one qualifying reason and applies only when your employee is on leave to care for their child whose school or place of care is closed, or whose childcare provider is unavailable due to COVID-19-related reasons. The only instance where an employee can use both EPSLA and EFMLA is when the qualifying reason is due to school closures or the absence of childcare.
In response to this crisis, Stanton Law now offers to potential new clients interim, short-term engagements to answer your legal questions. We’re happy to arrange for a ½-hour phone/video consultation with an attorney. We may be able to come up with a plan during that conversation and exchange, and it may be all the direction you need, at least for the short term. But when you need us to take on additional work, we’ll put in place a formal engagement letter and assign the work to the particular attorney who will be handling the specifics.
To set up our conversation, please call 404.881.1288, ext. 0 to speak with our administrator. She’s really cool, but please recognize that she obviously can’t provide legal advice.
If you’re more of a do-it-yourself fan:
• Review the Firm Policies & Procedures. By setting up an appointment, you’re agreeing to what we’ve set forth.
• Schedule a convenient time to talk by clicking this link: https://calendly.com/todd-stanton. There are 1/2-hour appointments available around the clock – please schedule what works for you.
• We’ll send you a calendar invite to lock-in our appointment.
• Send over any materials at which you’d like us to look and we’ll be ready to discuss your several courses of action.
In addition to receiving one-on-one advice specific to your business by scheduling a consultation, you can take advantage of helpful general information discussions by accessing one of our recent webinars: Helping Employers and Employees Understand New Rights and Obligations Related to Coronavirus and What Employers Need to Consider with Coronavirus.
At Stanton Law, we are glad to be one of your resources for daily updates on COVID-19’s effect on your business. If you have any questions regarding this or any other legal matter, please do not hesitate to contact our experienced Atlanta employment attorneys at 404-531-2341 or online.