This page was last updated 4/8/20 at 2:30 p.m. and will be updated as new information becomes available.
DOL Notice and Reference Guides
Affected employers should also post this notice about the new paid leave provisions in a place where employees are likely to see it. Normally this would be in the same spot as your other labor law posters, but since many employees are now working remotely, you may want to provide a link to your employees electronically.
The Department of Labor has issued a comprehensive list of frequently asked questions about paid sick and family leave which can be accessed by clicking here.
Additional DOL fact sheets for employers and employees can be accessed by clicking here.
The new paid leave is intended to cover employees who are sick with COVID-19, are caring for others with the virus, or to cover their pay while staying home with kids because their school or day care has been closed due to the virus. The intent is that this would be at no cost to the employer, since it can be offset with payroll taxes.
Eligible employers are businesses and tax-exempt organizations with fewer than 500 employees.
Paid leave provisions take effect April 1, 2020. In the meantime, if your business has employees who are sick with COVID-19 or need to stay home with children because they have no child care or schooling, you should follow your already-established policies and procedures.
Paid leave provisions are set to expire December 31, 2020, so this is intended as short term coverage specific to the current situation.
Two Types of Leave:
“Emergency Paid Sick Leave” covers employees for up to 10 days or a maximum of 80 hours for full time employees (prorated based on average hours worked for part time employees) who are in one of the following circumstances:
- Subject to a federal, state or local quarantine/isolation order
- Advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine
- Experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a diagnosis
- Caring for an individual in any of the above situations
- Caring for a child if their school or day care has been closed or is otherwise unavailable due to COVID-19
The payment to the employee should replace all the employee’s wages up to a maximum of $511 per day. If the employee is caring for another individual the benefit must replace 2/3 of the employee’s wages up to a maximum of $200 per day.
The second type of paid leave is called “Public Health Emergency Leave”:
- It covers employees who have worked for the company for at least 30 calendar days who are unable to work or telework due to the need to care for their child if their school or day care has been closed or is otherwise unavailable due to COVID-19
- The employee would be paid for 10 weeks after the first two weeks of absence that are unpaid (but it appears employees could be paid under Emergency Paid Sick Leave provisions above)
The payment to the employee is not less than 2/3 of the employee’s regular rate of pay for the number of hours the employee would normally be scheduled to work during the period not to exceed $200 per day or $10,000 in the aggregate
This is another area where governmental guidance is forthcoming, but preliminary information from the IRS indicates that employers will be able to reduce their 941 deposits by the amount of wages paid out to cover time off for employees under these leave provisions. So far, this is what the IRS said in their March 20 news release:
“When employers pay their employees, they are required to withhold from their employees’ paychecks federal income taxes and the employees’ share of Social Security and Medicare taxes. The employers then are required to deposit these federal taxes, along with their share of Social Security and Medicare taxes, with the IRS and file quarterly payroll tax returns (Form 941 series) with the IRS.
Under guidance that will be released next week, eligible employers who pay qualifying sick or child care leave will be able to retain an amount of the payroll taxes equal to the amount of qualifying sick and child care leave that they paid, rather than deposit them with the IRS.
The payroll taxes that are available for retention include withheld federal income taxes, the employee share of Social Security and Medicare taxes, and the employer share of Social Security and Medicare taxes with respect to all employees.
If there are not sufficient payroll taxes to cover the cost of qualified sick and child care leave paid, employers will be able file a request for an accelerated payment from the IRS. The IRS expects to process these requests in two weeks or less. The details of this new, expedited procedure will be announced next week.”
We’ll provide more information once it becomes available.