COVID-19 FAQs

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COVID-19 FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I take a credit against paid leave that was taken prior to April 1?

No, all leave taken prior to April 1st is not covered under this law and will not count toward the leave that you need to provide on or after April 1st nor will it be considered leave eligible for a credit against your 941 taxes.

How do I determine if my business qualifies as an employer with less than 500 employees?

If at the time your employee goes on qualifying leave, you employ a total less than 500 full-time or part-time employees in the United States or its territories. This should include any employees on leave, temporary employees jointly employed by you and another employer regardless if they are on your payroll, day laborers, but not independent contractors. In the scenario where a corporation has ownership interest in another corporation, each corporation is considered separate unless they qualify as a joint-employer under the FLSA. In addition, if two or more separate entities meet the requirements of an integrated employer test under the FLSA, then those entities are counted as one employer for the purposes of this calculation. An integrated employer test considers the following factors: common management, interrelation between operations, centralized control of labor relations, and degree of common ownership or financial control.

If my business has less than 50 employees and providing leave from the FFCRA would jeopardize the viability of my business, how do I claim the small business exemption from this law?

Document your situation thoroughly and wait for further guidance from the DOL on how to claim this exemption. We will provide updates as soon as they are available to distribute.

How do I calculate how much leave to provide to my part-time employees if they do not have regular work schedules?

If they do not have regular work schedules, then you must average the number of hours worked per day over the last six months and apply that to the leave period per day. If the employee has not worked long enough to use this method, the DOL recommends you use any expected work hours in the agreement between you and the employee that occurred at the time of hire. If there was no such agreement, you may estimate the expected time using reasonable scheduling expectations.

When calculating the pay for leave, do I need to include overtime premiums?

No, while you must include any overtime hours (i.e. if an employee works 50 hours the first week and then 20 hours the next they are due 70 hours for a two-week period), you do not need to pay the hours at a premium rate for over 40 hours in a weekly period.

How do I calculate my employee’s regular rate of pay to use for leave?

Please refer to this link from the DOL for details, but in summary, it is the total regular wages (exclude gift, vacation/sick/holiday pay, business expenses, and similar payments) divided by the total hours worked for the previous six months. If the employee hasn’t worked for six months, average this over the entire period since hiring the employee.

Will you still impound me for the taxes even though I don’t have to deposit them with the IRS due to paid leave wages?

We are putting together solutions right now to prevent the impounds from taking place when a leave is on the same payroll.

When will a payroll solution be ready?

We are working to provide a payroll solution to avoid impounding taxes related to credit for paid leave prior to the effective date of April 1.

What qualifies as sick leave for this Act?

1. is subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19;
2. has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine related to COVID-19;
3. is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and is seeking a medical diagnosis;
4. is caring for an individual subject to an order described in (1) or self-quarantine as described in (2);
5. 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
6. 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.

If my business was forced to close due to a “stay at home” policy prior to the law going into effect April 1, and we had to lay off my employees — are we allowed to rehire and then payout under the FFRA?

For states and municipalities that have “stay at home” policies for businesses and residents, those employees are not eligible for the FFCRA credits since it only applies to employees specifically being isolated due to being sick or quarantined. The employees would, however, be eligible for unemployment benefits. In addition, you could consider using the employee retention credit to cover the cost of payroll.

Will BenefitMall provide any reports to support the information needed to apply for a Payroll Protection Program loan?

We are looking into this and will provide updates at a future date.

Can I pay the deferred employer Social Security taxes in installments when they become due?

No, once the deferred taxes become due, they must be paid in full.

Will BenefitMall defer employer Social Security taxes for a specific payroll only?

At this time, this is not something that we can accommodate. We are looking into more automated product options that could be added in the future.

How do I enter my employee retention credit in the payroll system?

At this time, you cannot enter this credit into the payroll system. This will change in the near future as we enhance our products to accommodate.

Will BenefitMall handle filing my 7200 form to get an advanced credit?

At this time, we cannot file your 7200 form on your behalf. We are looking into how we can provide services to support this for you in the near future.

Where do I post the FFCRA Notice if most of my workforce is teleworking?

Each covered employer must post a notice of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) requirements in a conspicuous place on its premises. An employer may satisfy this requirement by emailing or direct mailing this notice to employees or posting this notice on an employee information internal or external website. The notice must be sent and or posted by April 1st, 2020.

If I reduce my employee’s scheduled work hours, can we use paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for the hours that they will no longer work?

No. If you reduce the work hours because there is no work to perform, you may not use paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for the hours. This is because they are not prevented from working those hours due to a COVID-19 qualifying reason, even if your reduction in hours was somehow related to COVID-19. They may, however, take paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave if a COVID-19 qualifying reason prevents them from working a full schedule. If they do, the amount of leave to which they are entitled is computed based on their work schedule before it was reduced.

New York enacted their state sick leave for Covid-19, as an employer which law should we follow, State or Federal?

For these scenarios, the golden rule should be to do what is most beneficial to the employee.

New York – If the employee qualifies for New York leave earlier than April 1st, 2020 then the employer must honor that leave. As soon as the employee is eligible for paid leave from both Federal and New York leave, then the leave is considered counted toward both requirements simultaneously. If the employee was already on New York leave when the federal law becomes effective April 1st, 2020, the entire leave period is extended until the end of the Federal leave period (two-weeks from April 1st, 2020). The regular rate of pay calculations to be paid are different for each law, the employer must pay the employee a higher rate between the two calculations during periods where the paid leave is running. Both laws require you to pay the employee hours at what they normally would’ve received for that period, they just have different methods for determining the “regular rate of pay” to be used.

Click here for the NY link for employers.

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