We are writing to give you a brief update on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued “Questions and Answers” for employees and employers on the FFCRA. These guidelines can be found here:
Today, the DOL published the model notice for employers to use to educate their employees about the FFCRA’s provisions. The model notice can be found here:
The big news is that the FFCRA takes effect April 1, 2020, and not April 2, 2020 as previously suggested. The DOL’s “Questions and Answers” address some important issues under the FFCRA, such as how an employer must count the number of their employees to determine coverage; how small businesses can obtain an exemption; how to count hours for part-time employees; and how to calculate the wages employees are entitled to when they use the paid leave provided by the law.
Many employers have already begun providing the paid leave as a way of helping their employees now, rather than waiting for the actual effective date of the FFCRA. Unfortunately, the FFCRA and DOL guidelines do not address whether employers will get tax credits for paid leave they provide between March 18 (the date the FFCRA was signed into law) and March 31, 2020. However, a press release issued by the IRS and the DOL last week stated that employers could “immediately” begin taking advantage of the tax credits provided under the FFCRA, apparently suggesting that paid leave provided between March 18 to 31, 2020 would qualify for the tax credits. The press release can be found here:
Hopefully, the DOL, the IRS or both will provide a clear answer for employers.
Finally, the DOL published a field bulletin regarding temporary non-enforcement of the FFCRA for the period of March 18, 2020 to April 17, 2020. The field bulletin can be found here:
We will provide further updates as additional guidance is published in the coming days and weeks