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Additional Resources

PLEASE NOTE: We apologize for any lengthier wait times caused by an increased volume of calls and inquiries regarding COVID-19. Some delays when requesting reports from Prism have also been reported. We are working to expedite responses and appreciate your patience during this unprecedented time.

Families First Coronavirus Response Act Pay Codes and Timesheet Entry

  • Instructions on how to record the new pay codes associated with the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201).

Employee Retention Tax Credit

  • Instructions on how to record time and additional pay to the new pay codes associated with the Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC).

On-Demand Videos

Aaron Call, EVP of Operations for G&A Partners, has prepared a webinar to supplement the PPP Loan Forgiveness Reporting & Process Guide (located under Additional Resources and Paycheck Protection Program) that we created to help you complete the PPP loan-forgiveness application process. Learn what tips and tricks he recommends for your PPP loan-forgiveness application.

NAPEO and G&A Partners teamed up with outside counsels Seth Perretta and Malcolm Slee with Groom Law Group to help walk through key aspects of the PPP loan program, including important insight on the loan forgiveness process.

On June 2, 2020, Seth Perretta and Malcolm Slee, from Groom Law Group, presented “Getting Your PPP Loan Forgiven” Throughout the 90-minute webinar they walk you through the PPP loan forgiveness application process so that when you are ready, you can submit your application with confidence.

To download the slides presented in the webinar click here.

On April 2, 2020, G&A Partners sat down with Seth Perretta and Malcolm Slee, from one of our benefits, health, and retirement law firm partners, Groom Law Group to discuss how the CARES Act may benefit your organization and employees.

To download the slides presented in the webinar click here.

Frequently Asked Questions

We understand that you have many questions during this uncertain time regarding your business. Our experts answer the most common and pressing questions in this document. We’ve categorized the Q&A by the following areas: human resources, legislative, benefits, tax credits, 401(k), unemployment and payroll. Check back regularly to receive helpful client resources related to COVID-19.

Human ResourcesLegislativeBenefits
Tax Credits401(k)Unemployment
Payroll

DISCLAIMER: Please note, this FAQ is for informational purposes only and is general in nature. Although every effort has been taken to ensure accuracy, this information is not intended to be legal advice and is our interpretation and is subject to change based on final guidance and clarity provided by the governing agencies.

Human Resources

Eligible employees for Emergency Paid Sick Leave are employees who work for an employer with fewer than 500 employees. Employees are eligible from day one of employment. An employee qualifies for paid sick time if the employee is unable to work (or unable to telework) due to a need for leave because the employee:

  1. Is subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19;
  2. Has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine related to COVID-19;
  3. Is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and is seeking a medical diagnosis;
  4. Is caring for an individual subject to an order described in (1) or self-quarantine as described in (2);
  5. Is caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed (or child care provider is unavailable) for reasons related to COVID-19; or
  6. Is experiencing any other substantially-similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the Secretaries of Labor and Treasury.

Employers must provide full-time employees with up to 80 hours of paid sick leave if the employees qualify under one of these six reasons.

Part-time employees are entitled to paid sick leave based on the number of hours the employees work, on average, over a two-week period.

If an employee works an irregular schedule such that it is not possible to determine what hours he or she would normally work over a two-week period, the employer must estimate the number of hours. The estimate must be based on the average number of hours the employee was scheduled to work per calendar day (not workday) over the six-month period ending on the first day of paid sick leave. This average must include all scheduled hours, including both hours actually worked and hours for which the employee took leave.

Yes, employees may be paid under both state-paid sick leave, and federal emergency paid sick leave. The new emergency paid sick leave law states that "an employer may not require an employee to use other paid leave provided by the employer to the employee before the employee uses the (emergency) paid sick time." The law does not say, however, that an employer may not offer more than what is provided under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act. An employer will not receive a tax reimbursement for more leave than what is provided under the FFCRA law.

Employers, at their discretion, may offer more assistance than is required under the federal Emergency Paid Sick Leave law, but only that portion of the paid sick leave required by the new law will be eligible for tax reimbursement.

The only reason for which an employee qualifies for expanded family and medical leave (EFML) is if that employee must care for a child whose school or place of care is closed (or child care provider is unavailable) for reasons related to COVID-19 (reason #5 for emergency paid sick leave). An employee is potentially able to take up to twelve weeks of EFML. The first two weeks of EFML are unpaid (but the employee may get paid during this time through emergency paid sick leave).

As an employer, you are required to pay your employee based on his or her average regular rate for each hour of paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave taken. The average regular rate must be computed over all full workweeks during the six-month period ending on the first day that paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave is taken. If your employee has been employed for less than six months, you may compute the average regular rate over the entire period during which the employee was employed.

If during the past six months, you paid your employee exclusively through a fixed hourly wage or a salary equivalent, the average regular rate would simply equal the hourly wage or the hourly-equivalent of their salary.

But if your employee were paid through a different compensation arrangement (such as piece rate) or received other types of payments (such as commissions or tips), his or her regular rate may fluctuate week to week, and you may compute the average regular rate using these steps:

  • First, you must compute the employee’s non-excludable remuneration for each full workweek during the six-month period. Notably, commissions and piece-rate pay counts towards this amount. See 29 CFR part 778. Tips, however, count only to the extent that you apply them towards minimum wage obligations (i.e., you take a tip credit). See 29 CFR part 531.60. Overtime premiums do not count towards your employee’s regular rate. Please note that, unlike when computing average hours, you should not count payments your employee received for taking leave as part of the regular rate.
  • Second, you must compute the number of hours the employee actually worked for each full workweek during the six-month period. Please note that, unlike when computing average hours, you do not count hours when the employee took leave.
  • Third, you then divide the sum of all non-excludable remuneration received over the six-month period by the sum of all countable hours worked in that same time period. The result is the average regular rate.

There is a reason code titled “COVID-19 Interruption/Shutdown” that should be used in these cases.

  • A termination involves one or more employees whose employment is terminated as of the effective date. Terminations may be for a variety of reasons including substandard performance, policy violations, needs of the business, etc.
  • A layoff (or reduction in force) is a type of termination that is due to the needs of the business and may be related to business performance, economic conditions or strategic restructuring. Laid-off employees are generally eligible for unemployment benefits because the layoff is considered to be a "no-fault" termination on the part of the employee. If you are terminating employees due to the negative impact of COVID-19 on your business, this is probably the type of termination that applies to your case.
  • A furlough is a temporary, unpaid leave of absence initiated by the employer. An employee may not be working for a period of time, generally less than a year, or may have intermittent furlough days. For example, one day each week may be designated as a furlough day for a period of time. Many states will allow a furloughed employee to apply for, and receive, unemployment benefits as long as they meet all the criteria. A furloughed employee may still be included in the employer's benefits plan for a period of time, depending on the plan description. Furloughed employees may be easily called back in to work as it becomes available, without the need to rehire.

The federal Emergency Paid Sick Leave law takes precedence over any state or local paid sick leave laws during this period. As for your company-paid sick leave plan, the new law states that "an employer may not require an employee to use other paid leave provided by the employer to the employee before the employee uses the (emergency) paid sick time." The law does not say, however, that an employer may not offer more than what is provided under the emergency paid sick leave act. Please note that an employer will not receive a tax reimbursement for more than what is provided under the law.

Yes, there is. Please consult with your client advocate for assistance.

The Department of Labor (DOL) may grant small businesses with fewer than 50 employees an exemption from the requirement to provide leave due to school closings or unavailable childcare if the leave requirements would jeopardize the viability of the business as an ongoing concern. Currently, the exemption applies to the following conditions:

  • Small businesses with fewer than 50 employees: exempt from the requirements of section 5102(a)(5), when the imposition of such requirements would jeopardize the viability of the business as an on going concern. The employer must document how it meets this criteria and retain such documentation in its files.
  • Certain health care providers and emergency responders: exempt from the definition of employee under section 5110(1) of The Family First Coronavirus Response Act(FFCRA), allowing the employer of such health care providers and emergency responders to opt out. The DOL has defined “health care provider” to include“anyone employed at any doctor's office, hospital, health care center, clinic, post-secondary educational institution offering health care instruction, medical school, local health department or agency, nursing facility, retirement facility, nursing home, home health care provider, any facility that performs laboratory or medical testing, pharmacy, or any similar institution, Employer, or entity.”

During a 12-month period, an employee is capped at a total of 12 weeks of job-protected leave between regular FMLA and the new EFMLA (the first 10 days of EFMLA may be unpaid). In addition to Emergency Paid Sick Leave, an employee can elect to use their PTO, vacation, or sick leave during the first 10 days if they wish.

The employee must have been employed 30 days prior to taking leave (unlike the traditional FMLA requirement of 12 months/1,250 hours).

Employers should work closely with their client advocates and G&A's HR Advisory team to assist with proper notifications based on their specific business needs.

Forms have not been provided by the Department of Labor yet. However, the US DOL has explained that employees must support leave requests with appropriate information, including the employee’s name, qualifying reason for leave, a statement that the employee is unable to work or telework for that reason, and the leave date(s). Employees must provide documentation supporting the absence, such as, a copy of the quarantine or isolation order, or written documentation from a health care provider advising self-quarantine. For employees using leave to care for a child, examples of supporting documentation include a notice posted on a government, school or day care website, or published in a newspaper, or in an email from an employee or official of the school, place of care or childcare provider. As soon as the DOL provides the applicable forms G&A will make them available.

The federal WARN Act imposes a notice obligation on covered employers (those with 100 or more full-time employees) who implement a “plant closing” or “mass layoff” in certain situations, even when they are forced to do so for economic reasons. In some cases, a large furlough may also trigger WARN notification obligations. It is important to keep in mind that these quoted terms are defined under WARN's regulations, and that they are not intended to cover every single layoff or plant closing:

  • Generally speaking, employers must provide at least 60 calendar days of notice prior to any covered plant closing or mass layoff, which can be triggered with a layoff that includes as few as 50 employees under federal law (potentially less under applicable state laws). Note, however, that if employees are laid off for less than six months, then they do not suffer an employment loss and, depending on the particular circumstances, notice may not be required. Unfortunately, in situations like this, it is hard to know how long the layoff will take and notice cannot be provided retroactively, so providing notice at the outset is usually the best practice.
  • The WARN Act has specific provisions requiring notice to employees, unions and certain government entities. The act further specifies the information that must be contained in each notice. Even a seemingly minor deviation from these requirements can trigger a violation. Also, keep in mind that some states have “mini-WARN” laws that may apply.

If the company ended operations and terminated all of its employees prior to April 1, then it would not be in existence after the effective date and, therefore, would not be subject to the new law. Language from the US DOL appears to indicate that after April 1, EPSL will not be available to those covered by shelter-in-place and business closure orders at the state and local level. However, employees whose child’s school or childcare is unavailable would be eligible for EFMLA for that reason alone.

It depends on whether the new status will be“furlough” or “terminated/laid off.” If they're terminated or laid off, then their status would be "Terminated" in the system. If on furlough, they would be designated as "Leave of Absence."

Each covered employer must post a notice of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”) requirements in a conspicuous place on its premises. An employer may satisfy this requirement by emailing or direct mailing this notice to employees or posting this notice on an employee information internal or external website.

This FFCRA notice does not have to be shared with recently laid-off individuals or with job applicants. The FFCRA poster notice requirement applies only to current employees and new hires. The new FFCRA poster for non-federal government employers was published by the U.S. Department of Labor and can be found at: https://www.dol.gov/sites/dolgov/files/WHD/posters/FFCRA_Poster_WH1422_Non-Federal.pdf.

Many states have now issued a Stay-at Home or Shelter-in-Place order that affect most employers. Questions of what constitutes “essential businesses” have arisen. In many states, the term is not defined clearly, if at all. Here is a link to a document from Homeland Security that could be helpful in making such a determination where it may be unclear. Note that the federal document identifies “essential workers” and not essential businesses; however, the reasoning can be useful to determine whether a business is “essential.”

For information on Verification templates for Essential Workers, please reach out to your Client Advocate or customercare@gnapartners.com.

Legislative

One of our partner law firms, Fisher Phillips, has created a comprehensive FAQ document for employers. You can access it here: https://www.fisherphillips.com/faqs

Some employers with fewer than 50 employees are entitled to some relief from the new law. Item #8 in this link provides a good overview of such relief: https://www.fisherphillips.com/resources-alerts-top-10-things-employers-need-to-know-about

Unless your company meets the definition of “Emergency Responder” or “Healthcare Provider,” you are subject to the new law and must make emergency paid sick leave and emergency family and medical leave available to your employees. This link provides a good overview of the new law, which is effective from April 1 through December 31, 2020: https://www.fisherphillips.com/resources-alerts-congress-finalizes-covid-19-coronavirus-response-act

Typically, a corporation (including its separate establishments or divisions) is considered to be a single employer and its employees must each be counted towards the 500-employee threshold. Where a corporation has an ownership interest in another corporation, the two corporations are separate employers unless they are joint employers under the FLSA with respect to certain employees. If two entities are found to be joint employers, all their common employees must be counted in determining whether paid sick leave must be provided under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act and expanded family and medical leave must be provided under the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act.

Further, in general, two or more entities are separate employers unless they meet the integrated employer test under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA). If two entities are an integrated employer under the FMLA, then employees of all entities making up the integrated employer will be counted in determining employer coverage for purposes of expanded family and medical leave under the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act.

Per the DOL, if the worksite closes, employees do not receive, or continue to receive, FFCRA leave. It does not matter whether: 1) the closure occurs before or after the law takes effect; 2) an employee is on leave when closure occurs; 3) an employer furloughs an employee; 4) the worksite temporarily closes and the employer says it will reopen in the future. This is true whether the worksite closes for lack of business or per a federal, state, or local directive. If this occurs, an employee's only recourse is to seek unemployment benefits.

Employers may visit https://covid19.ca.gov/ for further information related to California's executive stay-at-home order. Further information regarding the California WARN Act can be found at: https://www.edd.ca.gov/Jobs_and_Training/Layoff_Services_WARN.htm

Benefits

Unum's Employee Assistance Program (EAP) has provided many resources to help employees deal with COVID-19 concerns, such as quarantine and social-distancing tips, coping with mental health, supporting children at home, etc. Please visit https://www.unum.com/employees/services/life-balance. You can also reach a counselor at 1-800- 854-1446 and reference “G&A Partners” as your employer. These services are offered at no cost.

For currently enrolled participants, HealthiestYou is enhancing its value proposition to ensure it can assist with navigation of telemedicine, provide resources about coronavirus, etc. Consistent with recommendations from the CDC, HealthiestYou can issue a 14‐day self‐quarantine "excuse note" for suspected COVID‐19 patients. Log in to learn more at https://www.teladoc.com/coronavirus/

Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, employer-sponsored group health plans must cover COVID-19 testing without imposing a deductible, copayment or other cost sharing. Please note that the coverage mandate does not require health plans to cover treatment of COVID-19.

Benefits will remain active if employees are placed on leave or on furlough. Typically, employees on leave may be covered for up to 12 weeks. However, each plan may vary. Employers are billed the full premium and the employee's portion will be collected through payroll upon return. Certain employers may be eligible for a tax credit if the employees are on protected leave under the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLA) or the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act. Please contact G&A Partners to discuss your specific plan details.

If an employee presents with symptoms consistent with the coronavirus, it is considered “protected health information.” We recommend that employers limit sharing any information learned about a specific employee’s symptoms.

Employees will be eligible for these benefits if they personally have a qualified illness or injury. They will have to satisfy the elimination period prior to receiving benefits. Employees who are on leave when illness or injury occurs need to reference their plan documents for coverage details.

Given the cancellation of many childcare arrangements, employees may reduce or stop dependent care account (DCA) contributions. Participants who have funds in their DCA should submit for reimbursement of these amounts for daycare costs incurred to date since the shutdown.

First, please reach out to your client advocate to discuss the best solutions for your company in terms of layoffs, furloughs, etc. With regards to an employee that is on furlough, there are a few options:

  • An employer can cover the premiums for the furloughed employees in order to keep coverage in place. When the employees return, the employer may then attempt to recover the employee’s share of the cost from the employee.
  • An employer may send an invoice or coupon to covered employees during the period of leave, asking the employees to remit premium payments on an “after-tax” basis.

Employers may also elect to include a “prepayment” of premiums on a pre-tax basis, or automatic deductions from pay upon return from leave. Relevant state law needs to be reviewed before making any decisions about automatic deductions from pay.

Tax Credits

Employers are entitled to a refundable credit against their 941 liability (Social Security, Medicare, Federal Income Tax) for up to $10,000 of each employee's compensation paid under this act. The daily credit is limited to $200. The eligible credit, up to the amount of the 941 liability, will be credited on the client's invoice. Any eligible credit in excess of the 941 liability will be entitled to a refund. The Department of the Treasury explains this process here: https://www.irs.gov/instructions/i7200.

If you intend to claim a tax credit under the FFCRA for your payment of the sick leave or expanded family and medical leave wages, you should retain appropriate documentation in your records. You should consult Internal Revenue Service (IRS) applicable forms, instructions, and information for the procedures that must be followed to claim a tax credit, including any needed substantiation to be retained to support the credit.

Employers are entitled to a refundable credit against their 941 liability (Social Security, Medicare, Federal Income Tax) for up to 10 days of EE's paid sick leave under this act. The daily tax credit is limited to either $511 or $200 if it is for employees who take leave to care for others or for childcare. The eligible credit, up to the amount of the 941 liability, will be credited on the client's invoice. Any eligible credit in excess of the 941 liability will be entitled to a refund. The Department of the Treasury explains this process here: https://www.irs.gov/instructions/i7200.

The IRS allows an immediate credit via reduction of the 941 tax payment, which will be credited on the client's invoice. Any eligible credit in excess of the 941 liability will be entitled to a refund. The Department of the Treasury explains this process here: https://www.irs.gov/instructions/i7200.

This varies by state. Each state creates its own regulations around COVID-19, and many are still drafting these regulations. While an answer cannot be provided across the board, overwhelmingly states are saying that SUTA rates will not be impacted by COVID-19 related layoffs.

401(k)

An employer without a Safe Harbor Plan in place is allowed to change its match with an amendment to the plan. Although not required, it is recommended that employers send a notification to employees prior to making the change.

An employer with a Safe Harbor Plan is allowed to change its match with an amendment to the plan and a 30-day notice to participants. Clients should note that you must wait until the end of the year to begin another Safe Harbor Plan for the next Plan Year and include a 30-day notice to participants. Clients should defer to their 401(k) provider on rules for their individual plan.

The CARES Act restricts 401(k) plan relief to qualified participants with a valid COVID-19 related reason for early access to retirement funds. These include:

  • Being diagnosed with COVID-19
  • Having a spouse or dependent diagnosed with COVID-19
  • Experiencing a layoff, furlough, reduction in hours, or inability to work due to COVID-19 or lack of childcare because of COVID-19

An employee should still speak with his or her employer to regarding any potential withdrawal since employers are not required to follow the new, more permissive, withdrawal and loan rules provided by the Act.

Clients should defer to their individual 401(k) provider on rules for changing 401(k) plan contributions. Slavic401k allows for an immediate change to zero. All other changes are effective on the first of the month. Slavic participants can make changes online at Slavic401k.com or contact Slavic at 1-800-356-3009.

Unemployment

Partial unemployment benefit may be available but availability will vary by state. We ask that you direct specific inquiries regarding the state unemployment insurance program to the state agency in which you would file your unemployment claim.

Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits may be available. However, this is determined by the state agency. Employees can direct questions related to their unemployment eligibility or claim filing to the state agency.

Payroll

Student Loan Deductions on Paychecks

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G&A Partners has received letters from the US Department of Education describing the status of student loan repayment.The stoppage ordered in the CARES Act has been extended at least through Sept. 30, 2021. No withholding for Department of Education loans will occur unless or until new written direction has been received. We will continue to publish the updates the Department of Education sends to us.

All payments received on or after March 13, 2020 at the Department of Education are going to be refunded automatically from the Department of Education.

If you are due to receive a refund the US Department of Education will mail it to the address they have on file for you. If you are not certain what address they have on file for you, the Department of Education suggests you call them. All refunds should have been delivered by the Department of Education. If you believe a refund is due which has not been received, you may contact the Help Center at US Department of Education at 1-800-433-3243.

Wage garnishment will stop when an order to stop withholding is received. Orders may be received through the mail, email at garnishment@gnapartners.com or by fax at 866-363-5162 and 833-870-4008.

You should contact the loan servicer on the wage garnishment order. If you do not have a copy of the wage garnishment order that can be provided to you.