Are you still wondering what your employer obligations are with emergency paid leave? We have another free webinar this Friday about the Department of Labor’s (DOL) new COVID-19 guidance.
Will we survive this? I hope so. Daily I receive emails from nervous business owners with questions on how to proceed with their new employer obligations under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (Act). This is a crazy moment in time. One minute I feel like its a dream and the next minute I force myself to face my own reality. For me, this week has hit home as my husband was told by our state of Utah Governor to close his dental office until April 25, 2020. This is flat out heartbreaking and nervewracking all at the same time. I hope employers and employees will be patient with each other’s financial hardships over the next few weeks because this situation is hitting both sides very hard. So far, I have worked with clients who are seeking answers to ensure they are fulfilling their new requirements. This is good. Let’s keep figuring this out and stay hopeful that we can recover when this all blows over.
Free Webinars To Answer Your Questions
For starters, on March 24th, I had the pleasure of doing a webinar about your employer’s obligations with another employment attorney, Spencer Phillips. We had over 100 people register and we plugged through the questions as they came in. The hour went by fast for us, not sure about our attendees? Hopefully, we didn’t add to the confusion on emergency paid leave requirements! If you missed our first ever webinar recorded on Tuesday, March 24, 2020, you can access the recording HERE. Transcripts are also available (email: hello@danaballLaw.com for a copy). If you are itching for more clarification from us then don’t worry! This Friday, March 27th at noon, we have another webinar scheduled! Seats are limited so register early HERE.
Free Webinar-Round 2: Counsel With Us About Your Questions And Obligations for Employers in Navigating the New Emergency Paid Leave Act.
When: Friday, March 27, 2020 (12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. mountain standard time)
Online Registration: Click Here
Several Updates From the DOL To Cover
I know, it’s even hard for us attorneys to keep up with all of the updates and guidance filling up our emails and social media channels. This barrage of information about the employer’s obligations will not end any time soon either. We press on and tackle it one point at a time. So here we go!
Effective Date Changed to April 1 (not April 2nd)
The DOL clarified that the Act’s paid leave provisions are effective April 1, 2020, so not April 2nd! Also, any paid leave provided before April 1st will not count towards the new requirements and thus not eligible for tax credits.
The employer’s obligations under the Act requires you to provide employees with emergency paid sick leave and emergency family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. As an employer, you are required to post the notice released by the DOL in a “conspicuous place on its premises.” Another option you have for those employees who are working from home or in a variety of locations is to email, direct mail, and post the notice on your company’s internal or external website. This must be done as of April 1, 2020.
Who Are Considered Employees?
Independent contractors are NOT considered employees for emergency paid leave.
How Will The Small Business Exemption Work?
To elect the small business exemption, you should document why your business with fewer than 50 employees meets the criteria that are forthcoming by the DOL. Do not send any materials yet to the DOL when seeking an exemption.
How To Calculate the Regular Rate of Pay
The DOL outlined how to calculate the employee’s regular rate of pay when providing emergency paid leave. First of all, you must include overtime hours. The Act requires you to pay an employee for hours the employee would have normally been scheduled to work even if that is more than 40 hours in a week. However, for hours under the emergency paid sick leave, those hours are capped at 80. Are you confused yet? Then, for part-time employees, if unknown or it’s a varied schedule, you use a six-month average to calculate the average daily hours. All commission, tips, or piece rates, are all incorporated into the calculation.
Links to a Variety of COVID-19 Resources
DOL Wage & Hour Question and Answers: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-questions
EEOC webinar March 27 to answer questions: https://www1.eeoc.gov//eeoc/newsroom/release/3-23-20.cfm?renderforprint=1
DOL Coronavirus Resources: https://www.dol.gov/coronavirus
DOL Online Dialogue: https://www.dol.gov/newsroom/releases/whd/whd20200325
DOL Fact Sheet ffcra-employer-paid-leave: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-employer-paid-leave
Utah Division of Workforce Services: https://jobs.utah.gov/covid19/uifaqemployers.pdf
SBA disaster loan application: https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/
Stay hopeful. Take it one day at a time, business owners. We are here for you at a socially safe distance, of course!