Payroll responsibilities under the new COVID-19 law

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    Payroll will need to work some overtime of its own to get your company in compliance with the new COVID-19 law to make sure employees get paid properly.

    That’s courtesy of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

    And now the Department of Labor (DOL) has stepped in to help keep compliance up.

    It just published a new fact sheet to clarify your new responsibilities as an employer, effective April 2.

    Where do your employees fit in?

    You have six scenarios where an employee will be eligible for extended FMLA leave under the new law. That includes if he or she is:

    1. subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19
    2. advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine related to COVID-19
    3. experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and is seeking a medical diagnosis
    4. caring for an individual subject to an order described in Scenario 1 or self-quarantine as described in Scenario 2
    5. 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. experiencing any other substantially-similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the Secretaries of Labor and Treasury

    Duration and amount of pay during COVID-19

    Depending on which of those boxes an employee checks will determine both how long and how much you have to pay them.

    To determine the amount of time:

    • If an employee is out for reason 1,2,3,4 or 6, he or she is eligible for up to 80 hours of leave (part-timers are eligible for the number of hours of leave that the employee works on average over a two-week period).
    • If an employee is out for reason 5, that person is eligible for up to 12 weeks of leave at 40 hours a week, (part-time employees can take leave for the number of hours he or she is normally scheduled to work over that period).

    To calculate pay:

    • If any employee is out for reason 1,2 or 3, you pay them at either their regular rate or the applicable minimum wage, whichever is higher, up to $511 per day and $5,110 in aggregate (over a 2-week period).
    • If an employee is out for reason 4 or 6, pay them at 2/3 their regular rate or 2/3 the applicable minimum wage, whichever is higher, up to
    • $200 per day and $2,000 in aggregate (over a 2-week period).
    • If an employee is out for reason 5, pay them at 2/3 their regular rate or 2/3 the applicable minimum wage, whichever is higher, up to $200 per day and $12,000 in aggregate (over a 12-week period – two weeks of paid sick leave followed by up to 10 weeks of paid expanded FMLA).

    New notices, new payroll tax credits

    It’s one thing for you and your payroll team to understand these new requirements; employees are another matter.

    Which is why the new law also requires you to post a breakdown of the new law in a prominent spot. You can also email or snail mail them to employees since many are working from home.

    It’s not all money going out of your company. Under the new law, you can retain an amount of the payroll taxes equal to the amount of qualifying sick and child care leave that they paid, instead of depositing them with IRS.

    The treasury department gave some dollars-and-cents examples.

    Need more information?

    Premier Learning Solutions is offering a workshopUnpacking the Families First Coronavirus Response Act for Employers.

    Live: Tuesday, April 14, 2020 at 1PM (ET) Also available on-demand

    It covers:

    • How (and when) paid sick leave and expanded FMLA benefits laws interact
    • Calculating paid sick leave for your part-time workers
    • What if an employee refuses to come to work out of fear COVID-19 exposure?
    • How overtime hours factor into calculating wages for paid sick leave or FMLA
    • What are the penalties for not complying with the FFCRA?
    • How intermittent leave under traditional FMLA factors into the FFCRA

    The speaker is Max Muller, who has 40 years of business experience as an attorney, businessman and professional trainer.

    Click here for registration and more information.


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