The Essentials of COVID-19 Paid Leave Changes for Your Workforce
Stay on top of changing sick leave and family and medical leave laws for your employees and what that means for your janitorial or security business.
On March 18, 2020, the U.S. passed into law the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which takes effect on April 1, 2020 and runs through December 31, 2020. This act provides paid sick leave coverage for employees working for companies that employ under 500 people and gives those companies quick access to recover the cost of such coverage through payroll tax refunds. It also extends the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) for certain situations that extend beyond two weeks.
There is a 30-day non-enforcement grace period to allow you time to ensure you’re in compliance with the law. To help you navigate what this means for your security or janitorial business, we’ve outlined the major provisions within the law as well as relevant sick pay FAQs.
TEAM Software is dedicated to ensuring our software solutions meet the ever-changing needs of our customers. While we’re committed to keeping you informed, it’s important to do your own research and consult your own legal and tax advisors with specific questions or concerns. For more information on FFCRA, visit Congress.gov.
What employers and employees are impacted?
The current legislation impacts employers in the private sector with under 500 employees. Please be sure to read the bill in its entirety, as there may be special exemptions or provisions, especially if you employ under 50 people.
All employees, regardless of length of tenure, are impacted by FFCRA paid sick leave. Employees must be employed at least 30 days to take advantage of extended family and medical leave. Please refer to FMLA guidelines and restrictions for specifics.
What FFCRA paid sick leave benefits are my employees eligible for?
The FFCRA provides you payroll tax reimbursement for providing Paid Sick Leave to your employees due to COVID-19 related issues in two categories: employee health issues and family or child care issues. You cannot require employees to find a replacement worker or make them use other accrued time-off before taking FFCRA Paid Sick Leave. There is no tenure requirement for an employee to be eligible for these benefits.
Generally, FFCRA provides employees or covered employers with two weeks of paid sick leave at their regular rate of pay if the employee is unable to work because they are quarantined, experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or seeking a medical diagnosis. It also provides two weeks of paid sick leave at two-thirds (67 percent) the employee’s regular rate of pay if the employee is the caretaker for an individual subject to quarantine or if the employee must care for family or children whose school and/or childcare is closed for reasons related to COVID-19.
Additional information on FFCRA requirements for employers can be found on the U.S. Department of Labor website.
What extended FMLA benefits are my employees eligible for?
The FFCRA allows for up to 10 additional weeks of paid leave for employees caring for a child whose school and/or child-care is unavailable due to COVID-19. These days are paid at two-thirds (67 percent) of the employee’s base pay rate up to $200 per day ($10,000 max total). As this is an extension of the existing Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), eligibility for this provision is the same as eligibility for FMLA. In general, they must have been employed for at least 30 days prior to the date of leave.
The first 10 days for which an employee takes Extended Family and Medical Leave may be unpaid. These 10 days can consist of Vacation or PTO, Sick Leave (including the 2 weeks provided by FFCRA), Unpaid Leave, or a combination of any of these.
Refer to the U.S. Department of Labor website for the most up-to-date information on calculating how much your hourly employees are eligible for, as well as their daily and total maximum pay.
How do the employer tax credits work?
Employers are eligible for a credit of Social Security taxes for any Paid Sick Leave or Family Leave, along with any additional qualified health plan expenses incurred as a result of the leave. To the extent the wages plus any additional qualified health plan expenses incurred exceed the social security taxes, the employer may be eligible for a refundable overpayment. Employers don’t receive the credit if they’re also receiving the credit for paid family and medical leave.
How do I communicate this to my employees?
With the increased need for communicating this information as it unfolds, you need business operations technology at your fingertips no matter where you are. Having access to technology via your mobile device is especially crucial in times of uncertainty and crisis. Read our post covering Mobile Tools for Essential Services like Cleaning and Security.
How does this impact my business financially? Are there additional resources available to me?
The Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act signed into law on March 6 enabled the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to offer $7 billion in disaster assistance loans to small businesses suffering substantial economic harm due to COVID-19.
If you qualify as a small business per the SBA’s guidelines, you may be eligible for SBA funding to assist in paying fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and additional bills that can’t be paid because of COVID-19’s impact. For the janitorial industry, revenue must be $19.5 million or below, and for security contractors, revenue must be below $22 million to qualify.
For information on eligibility, interest rates and repayment terms visit the SBA website.
How should I handle these paid leave requirements in my current software system?
Your janitorial or security management software solution needs to be flexible so you can add in these new leave policies without impacting your regular leave management process. You need easy ways to deal with the new FFCRA requirements including handling the following:
- Different pay types (hourly vs. salary)
- Which type of leave is taken (paid sick leave or extended family and medical leave)
- Who meets the 30-day eligibility requirement for extended family and medical leave
- Reporting and auditing for compliance and tax credit claims.
For TEAM customers, we’ve been actively working to find the best ways to handle the logistics of tracking and complying with the law within WinTeam. To help you navigate the setup process, we have created a COVID-19 Resource Page on the TEAM Software Learning Center.
For additional information specific to cleaning and security contractors, visit the following industry partner links:
- CALSAGA COVID-19 Updates
- BSCAI Infectious Disease and Illness (COVID-19 Resources)
- ISSA Cleaning and Disinfecting for the Coronavirus
- ASIS Response to COVID-19
Read the rest of the posts in our COVID-19 blog series:
- Essential Tools for Essential Services
- Five Essential COVID-19 Forms for Cleaning Contractors to Use Right Now
- Six Essential COVID-19 Forms for Security Contractors to Use Right Now
- Mobile Tools for Essential Services like Cleaning and Security
- Three Tips for Engaging your Workforce Through Technology