Sub Specialty Contractor

Families First Coronavirus Response Act

  • 1.  Families First Coronavirus Response Act

    Posted 03-19-2020 10:10

    Do anyone have any guidance on how we are supposed to administer the Families First Coronavirus Response Act that was signed into law last night by the President.   We already have people who are out at home because schools and daycares are closed.   I've read a couple of dozen articles on it and it is not clear at all.  Some basic questions I have:

     

    1. If we provide PTO in excess of 2 weeks for certain classes of employees, do we have to provide them with an additional two weeks? 
    2. Is the Leave only for Corona related leave?  How do know what is and what isn't?
    3. In order to get the credit against payroll taxes, is supporting documentation required that the leave was paid to "eligible" employees.  (One article said employers would be barred from requiring doctors notes, so how are we supposed to be able to even determine who is eligible)  
    4. Is the credit just for the 6.2% of the employer's share of the Social Security Tax or both?
    5. One article said that we would not withhold the employee's share of Social Security from leave paid under the act.  
    6. What is the effective date for compliance?  I read it may be retroactive. 
      1. Software has not been updated to calculate the tax correctly yet.
      2. How about people who have been out prior?
    7. Do we take the credit when we deposit the tax on a weekly basis or when we file our 941.
    8. If we have people unaffected, can we use our share of their Social Security to pay for the leave of an affected employee? 

     

    My list can go on and on.   Point is, employers need this advice as we may need to implement it immediately.

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    Michael Sardo
    Chief Financial Officer
    WL Gary Co., Inc.
    Washington DC
    (202) 723-0676
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  • 2.  RE: Families First Coronavirus Response Act

    Posted 03-20-2020 07:54

    All great questions, looking for details from our professional organizations.  Only question I can answer is that I read the effective date is April 2nd.

     

     

    Robert McManus

    Chief Financial Officer

    Direct: 404.965.9349 

    Main: 404.361.5154 | Fax: 404.965.9355

    PO Box 45717 | Atlanta, GA 30320

    www.msrs.com

     

     

     

     

     






  • 3.  RE: Families First Coronavirus Response Act

    Posted 03-20-2020 11:41

    I received an excellent email yesterday regarding this bill and am providing the link they gave to a summary...

     

    http://img04.en25.com/Web/LincolnGroupProtection/%7Be191f58a-36ea-4126-8836-f8f3beecf288%7D_Final_Federal_Summary_3_19_20.pdf

     

     

    Carrie Stone, Vice-President of Finance

     






  • 4.  RE: Families First Coronavirus Response Act

    Posted 03-24-2020 03:35
    Michael,
    There is much confusion as to how this affects employers, especially in construction.  We have spent enormous amounts of management time addressing this.

    I can tell you that one major misconception that employers have, and I see it repeated here, is that the Act takes effect April 2, 2020.  NOT TRUE.  The Act took effect when it was signed by President Trump.  Employers have until 15 days after its enactment to meet the requirements of the Act. These are 2 different things. The 15 days after enactment is April 2, 2020.  See "SEC. 5108. EFFECTIVE DATE."  within the Act.

    My suggestion to employers with questions is to first, READ THE ACT.  After that, see how it applies to your business, and direct any questions to your legal counsel.

    You can get the Act at   https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/6201/text

    Do not rely on the summaries that are written, as most of them gloss over important requirements of the Act.  I can tell you that TITLE II thru TITLE VI will likely not apply to a Construction company, and can save you some reading time.

    Hope this helps,

    Doug Lyvers

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    Doug Lyvers
    Sunwest Electric, Inc.
    Anaheim CA
    (714) 630-8700
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  • 5.  RE: Families First Coronavirus Response Act

    Posted 03-24-2020 07:50
    Doug:

    Thank you for providing the source reference.   It seems that we have many interpretations of what the rules are and while I believe our Cafe Connection is a great way to share ideas, it is very important that we all find authoritative answers.  Most of us, while well educated financial professionals are not attorneys.  I will read the act, but I am certain that my interpretation may not be accurate as I struggle with legalese.  Even when I posed the same questions in my initial post to my CPA firm, the firm included a disclaimer to obtain legal advice.   Too bad the act does not reimburse employers for the additional legal costs that will be incurred for complying with the law.

    You do bring up a very important point on the effective date and it seems that you are absolutely correct.  Would it be fair to say that anyone who was out sick as of 3/18/2020 can be paid sick leave under the act, and the employer is entitled to the credit?  As I mentioned in an earlier post, we already have employees out on leave, simply due to the fact that they have children home from school.  Some would like access to this benefit.  While we may be able to wait until 4/2, we may want to implement earlier to help our employees through these times.   I was under the belief that we were waiting for some magical date from the IRS or DOL on when and how to start implementing this law.  This may never come.

    My main concern now turns to what I will call "tripping hazards" of the law.   Sec 5102(a) provides six situations where employees are entitled to leave.  It does not include the situation where an employee simply wants to take two weeks off because they want to "socially distance" themselves from other employees.  Under my interpretation, I can not grant this person leave under this act even if I may sympathize with their concern.  Moreover, if I take credit for the time off, I'm probably committing tax fraud. Would you agree with this interpretation?

    Thank you for sharing the link to the source, and thanks to CFMA for providing this invaluable resource to share ideas so we can best handle what is turning out to be a very complex issue.




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    Michael Sardo
    Chief Financial Officer
    WL Gary Co., Inc.
    Washington DC
    (202) 723-0676
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  • 6.  RE: Families First Coronavirus Response Act

    Posted 03-27-2020 10:17
    Glad to hear I am not the only one confused with the application date of the act. I understand the act is "effective" 04/01, but after reading the field assistance bulletin and one of the other responses, I am confused.

    We are currently tracking leave taken from 03/18 forward with details of their call ins, does this mean that we are eligible to submit this "sick days" as FFCRA sick days?

    Also, this is creating several questions from our managers as to what questions we are able to ask when employees provide them their symptoms or call in "Sick" – are they seeking a medical diagnosis, were they advised by a medical professional to self isolate?  Just lots of confusion surrounding what questions we can ask… hard to navigate. How are others navigating this?

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    Emily Safford
    [Controller]
    Highway Supply LLC
    Albuquerque NM
    (505) 345-8295
    Controller
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  • 7.  RE: Families First Coronavirus Response Act

    Posted 03-27-2020 10:57
    Emily:

    The effective date was something that was debated on this forum.  As Doug pointed out last week, the actual legislation indicated that the law would be effective no later than 15 days from it's signing.   Recent information on the DOL website specifically sets the date as April 1st.   In the FAQ's on DOL's website, there is a response that indicates that it is not retroactive.   My interpretation of that is that employees are not eligible for the leave under the act until 4/1/2020 and thus employers are not eligible for tax credits.  Unfortunately, some of us may have already paid leave thinking that we could Implement any time prior to 4/2/2020 which was 15 calendar days from 3/18/2020 when the bill was signed into law.

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    Michael Sardo
    Chief Financial Officer
    WL Gary Co., Inc.
    Washington DC
    (202) 723-0676
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  • 8.  RE: Families First Coronavirus Response Act

    Posted 03-27-2020 13:14

    As I understood the employee was required to use existing PSL or PTO or Vacation time prior to the April date.  I do know that you must keep it separate in your payroll once you get to 04/02.

     

    Carrie Stone, VP Finance

    Excel Mechanical, Inc.

    Tucson, AZ

     

     

     

     






  • 9.  RE: Families First Coronavirus Response Act

    Posted 03-28-2020 12:07
    I would recommend listening to some of the free webinars that are available from various law firms. We have several in our area that are providing them daily, giving good summaries of the new legislation.

    It is my understanding that payments made to employees over the past several weeks (for those not able to work for various reasons - State mandated shelter in place, lack of work, COVID19 illness etc) will not be reimbursable under the new Sick or Family leave credits, but will be able to be covered under the new SBA loans that can be forgiven (through the CARES act Paycheck Protection Program). We have been tracking this time specifically through an 'internal job' already to ensure we have the proper documentation once those 'loans' become available.

    My understanding from everyone I have heard from is that those credits will not be retroactive, and it doesn't seem that will be changing.

    Good luck everyone.

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    Scott Bishop CPA, CCIFP
    C F O
    Buist Electric, Inc.
    Byron Center MI
    (616) 878-3315
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  • 10.  RE: Families First Coronavirus Response Act

    Posted 03-28-2020 13:01
    Thank you all - this is very helpful.  We are also getting advice from our tax and legal counsel on this as well.  I am hearing the same that it is not retroactive, but the availability of the Paycheck Protection Program is providing assistance for the weeks prior to 04/01.


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    Emily Safford
    [Controller]
    Highway Supply LLC
    Albuquerque NM
    (505) 345-8295
    Controller
    ------------------------------



  • 11.  RE: Families First Coronavirus Response Act

    Posted 03-30-2020 09:13
    Has anyone seen specific info on payment of union fringes during FMLA/EFMLA?  We are not getting consistent info from any source, even the various unions themselves.

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    Edward Bulach CPA, CCIFP
    The Nelson Stark Company
    Cincinnati OH

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  • 12.  RE: Families First Coronavirus Response Act

    Posted 03-31-2020 11:56
    Edward we have been advised by our unions that Paid Sick Leave and EFMLA are not considered hours worked, and no fringe benefits will be due. We will be paying at the base cash rate for our union employees.

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    Leila Bennett-Snow CPA
    Controller
    Strategic Mechanical Inc.
    Fresno CA
    (559) 291-1952
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  • 13.  RE: Families First Coronavirus Response Act

    Posted 03-28-2020 12:23

    I agree that the effective date was moved up from 4/2 to 4/1. My understanding is that the employee must officially be employed by you at the 4/1 effective date to take advantage of sick leave then 10 week FMLA, and obviously must meet the conditions of being specifically impacted by the virus forcing you to be quarantined, etc. or qualify for the child care due to school being closed for the sick leave. If your employee was laid off prior to 4/1, I don't believe they would qualify for either benefit. Rather they would file unemployment and collect the extra $600 for 8 weeks per the Stimulus Act just passed. I'm not a lawyer either, so this is just my understanding. Stay well everyone!

     

     

    John Bieber, Chief Financial Officer

     NATIONAL  Glass & Metal Co., Inc.

    1424 Easton Road; Suite #400     Horsham, Pennsylvania 19044

    D: 267-532-1780  ǀ  O: 215-938-8880  ǀ  C: 267-650-9271 

     

     

     






  • 14.  RE: Families First Coronavirus Response Act

    Posted 03-25-2020 10:17
    We have already had a couple of employees call in that they would not be at work due to the concerns of catching the virus and passing it along to their families.  It is my understanding that these employees do not meet the criteria for paid sick time under the act.  How can we try to calm the concerns of our workforce and keep them working productively?  There are more untruths and embellished stories circulating at the job sites by word of mouth, than actual factual information.

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    Hollie Richard PHR, SHRM-CP
    Office/Human Resource Manager
    Audet Electric, Inc.
    Robertsdale AL
    (251) 947-4707
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  • 15.  RE: Families First Coronavirus Response Act

    Posted 03-26-2020 17:25
    I think the worst thing that could happen to an employee, at this time, would to feel like they were being asked to ignore a threat to their safety or the safety of their families in order to stay in good standing with their employer. Maybe that isn't the worst thing. They could ignore the recommendation to stay home when possible and subsequently catch the virus, bring it home, and lose a loved one. Hopefully there is a way to allow those who choose to be distanced, to do so and still be productive. At the very least though hopefully we can allow them to make that choice and minimize the consequences for them.

    The best way to make people feel safe is to do things to make them safe. Even something as simple as buying a few more tables for the lunch area so people can keep their distance can be reassuring. We can certainly take that even further, like allowing people to work from home if possible, staggering people into shifts so they can maintain space, restructuring tasks so that they can be performed in a safer (more physical distance) way, even if that isn't the fastest way.And by assuring the employees that we value them and understand their fear.

    We are all learning how to navigate this threat, including the employees. I am grateful that there are resources like this to help us all figure it out, together.

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    Eileen Cigala
    Project Accountant
    Phoenix AZ
    (480) 721-8066
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