Employers and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA): Document, Document, Document
As of Wednesday, April 1, 2020, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) goes into effect, and employees are now eligible to file for an additional 80 hours of sick time and/or expanded FMLA leave. Several of my clients have asked for clarification regarding how they should approach these changes.
My answer in general is always the same – document, document, document! For my long-term clients, this answer isn’t news. I continually advise you to document everything. Now it is more important than ever.
Here’s a simple break down of what documentation you need for the FFCRA for both paid sick leave and expanded family leave under the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act. For more detailed information, check out the Department of Labor’s website:
What records do I need to keep when my employee takes paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave?
If one of your employees takes paid sick leave under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act, your employee must provide appropriate documentation, including:
- The employee’s name
- The qualifying reason for the leave listed on this poster, a copy of which you must provide to your employees: https://www.dol.gov/sites/dolgov/files/WHD/posters/FFCRA_Poster_WH1422_Non-Federal.pdf
- A statement that the qualifying reason precludes the employee from work or telework (such as documentation from a doctor or state notification of school closure)
- The date(s) for which leave is requested
Documentation of the reason for the leave is required. In other words, the employee must provide the source of any quarantine or isolation order or the name of the health care provider who has advised the employee to self-quarantine.
If your employee isn’t sure what to provide, let them know that documentation may include a copy of the federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19 applicable to the employee, or written documentation by a health care provider advising the employee to self-quarantine.
If you intend to claim a tax credit under the FFCRA for paying sick leave wages to your employees, you should retain all of this documentation. Documentation is your friend. as the exact process for claiming tax credits has not been communicated yet. When they are issued, you will need to consult the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) applicable forms, instructions, and information for the procedures for claiming such a tax credit, including any other documentation you’ll need to retain. Again, at this time, we do not have clear direction on the exact process for claiming tax credits.
If, under the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act, one of your employees takes unpaid leave to care for a child whose school or place of care is closed or child care provider is unavailable due to COVID-19, the employee must provide you with appropriate documentation in support of such leave just as they would for conventional FMLA leave. This could include a notice that has been posted on a government, school, or day care website or published in a newspaper, or an email from an employee or official of the school, place of care, or child care provider.
This requirement also applies when the first two weeks of unpaid family leave run concurrently with paid sick leave taken for the same reason.
The employee must still provide medical certifications as they would under standard FMLA requirements. Details can be found here:
If you intend to claim a tax credit under the FFCRA for the expanded family and medical leave taken by your employee, you should retain this information and documentation. Further, once they are issued, you should consult the IRS’s applicable forms, instructions, and information for the procedures for claiming a tax credit, including any other documentation you’ll need to retain. As mentioned earlier, the exact process has not been fully disclosed for claiming the tax credits.
IF you need guidance, please reach out to me as I have created a work aid to your employees to help them provide the correct documentation.