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What Is FFCRA

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (the “FFCRA”), signed by President Trump on March 18, 2020, provides small and midsize employers refundable tax credits that reimburse them, dollar-for-dollar, for the cost of providing paid sick and family leave wages to their employees for leave related to COVID-19.

100% refundable tax credit

EPSL and EFML Tax Credits

The FFCRA requires employers to provide paid leave through two separate provisions: the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA), which entitles workers to up to 80 hours of paid sick time when they are unable to work for certain reasons related to COVID-19, and the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (Expanded FMLA), which entitles workers to certain paid family and medical leave.

WHO IS ELIGIBLE for LEAVE

Emergency Paid Leave - 80 hours

The FFCRA requires employers to provide paid leave through two separate provisions: the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA), which entitles workers to up to 80 hours of paid sick time when they are unable to work for certain reasons related to COVID-19, and the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (Expanded FMLA), which entitles workers to certain paid family and medical leave.

Potential Hardship Exception

Frequently asked questions

  • Paid at regular rate up to $511 per day ($5,100 total) for symptomatic or quarantine reason. Paid at 2/3 regular rate up to $200 per day ($2,000 total) for school/daycare reasons
  • Does not apply in the event of a layoff, before April 1, 2020
  • Hardship exemption for employers of 50 or fewer if providing leave would threaten viability of business

Up to 12 weeks of leave​

  • 1st 10 days are unpaid. Employees may use available paid leave to cover the first 10 days
  • Employees are paid at 2/3 regular rate up to $200 per day (up to $10,000 total). An employee could use available paid time off to cover the other 1/3 

For employers with 25+ employees, even if the employee’s position is eliminated, the employer has the right to reinstate to other positions that may exist. All employers must make a reasonable effort to return employees to work​.

This leave also qualifies as OFLA Sick Child Leave for employers with 25+ employees. It does not apply in the event of a layoff,  before April 1, 2020​.

Hardship exemption, for employers of 50 or fewer employees, if providing leave would threaten the viability of a business.

Employee with COVID-19 can stop home isolation when:
  • At least 14 days have passed since first symptoms
  • No fever present for at least 72 hours (without taking fever reducers)
  • Other symptoms have improved (cough, shortness of breath)
  • CDC does not require isolation, only social distancing
  • Potential workers’ compensation claim for Coronavirus exposure
  • Qualified sick leave wages are wages that the FFCRA requires an employer to pay to an employee who is unable to work or telework because either the employee’s personal health status (that is, the employee is under COVID‐19 quarantine or self‐quarantine or has COVID‐19 symptoms and is seeking a medical diagnosis) or the employee’s need to care for others (that is, the employee is caring for someone with COVID‐19 or for a child whose school or place of care is closed or child care provider is unavailable)
  • Qualified family leave wages are wages that the FFCRA requires an employer to pay to an employee who is unable to work or telework because the employee is caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed or child care provider is unavailable due to COVID‐19‐related reasons.
  • Qualified health plan expenses are amounts paid or incurred by an employer to provide and maintain a group health plan (as defined in section 5000(b)(1) of the Internal Revenue Code) that are allocable to the employee’s qualified leave wages.
  •  The amount of qualified health plan expenses taken into account in determining the credits generally includes both the portion of the cost paid by the employer and the portion of the cost paid by the employee with pre‐tax salary reduction contributions
  • However, the qualified health plan expenses should not include amounts that the employee paid for with after‐tax contributions
  • Claim the credits on your federal employment tax returns (Form 941) but you can benefit more quickly from the credits by reducing your federal employment tax deposits
  • If there are insufficient federal employment taxes to cover the amount of the credits, an employer may request an advance payment of the credits from the IRS by submitting Form 7200 (Advance)
  • Covers qualified wages starting on April 1, 2020 – December 31, 2020
  • The credits covers 100 percent of up to ten days of the qualified sick leave wages and up to ten weeks of the qualified family leave wages (and any qualified health plan expenses allocable to those wages) that an eligible employer paid during a calendar quarter, plus the amount of the eligible employer’s share of Medicare taxes imposed on those wages
  • Report the total qualified leave wages (and allocable qualified health plan expenses and the employer’s share of Medicare tax on the qualified leave wages) for each quarter on their federal employment tax return, usually Form 941, Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Return
  • In anticipation of receiving the credits, employers can fund qualified leave wages (and allocable qualified health plan expenses and the employer’s share of Medicare tax on the qualified leave wages) by accessing federal employment taxes related to wages paid between April 1, 2020, and December 31, 2020, including withheld taxes, that would otherwise be required to be deposited with the IRS
  • This means that in anticipation of claiming the credits on the Form 941, employers can retain the federal employment taxes that they otherwise would have deposited, including federal income tax withheld from employees, the employees’ share of social security and Medicare taxes, and the employer’s share of social security and Medicare taxes with respect to all employees
  • The Form 941 will provide instructions about how to reflect the reduced liabilities for the quarter related to the deposit schedule
  • Documentation showing how you determined the amount of qualified EPSL and EFMLA wages paid to employees that are eligible for the credit (records of work, including telework, and use of leave)
  • Documentation showing how you determined the amount of qualified health plan expenses attributed to wages (IRS has a form for this calculation)
  • Copies of any completed Forms 7200, Advance of Employer Credits Due To COVID‐19, that the employer submitted to the IRS
  • Copies of completed and submitted Forms 941, Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Return, that the employer submitted to the IRS

Employers can take credits from April 1, 2020 –December 31, 2020. Maintain records for four years after taxes are due or paid, whichever is later

  • Yes, if an employer also meets the requirements for the employee retention credit, it may receive both credits, but not for the same wage payments
  • The CARES Act allows certain employers subject to a full or partial closure order due to COVID‐19 or experiencing a significant decline in gross receipts a tax credit for retaining their employees. This employee retention credit is equal to 50% of qualified wages (including allocable qualified health plan expenses) paid to employees after March 12, 2020, and before January 1, 2021, up to $10,000 in qualified wages for each employee for all calendar quarters
  • However, the qualified wages for the employee retention credit do not include the amount of qualified leave wages for which the employer received tax credits under the FFCRA

For more information regarding different loans and qualifications see the chart below.

Yes. However, if an employer receives tax credits for qualified leave wages, those wages are not eligible as “payroll costs” for purposes of receiving loan forgiveness

Government loan stipulations

Swipe to view all columns
If you participate in
Paycheck Protection Program
EFML and EPSL Credits
Employee Retention Tax Credit
Deferral of SS Tax Payment
Paycheck Protection Program
You are participating in this
but must exclude FFCR Credits
Employee Retention Tax Credit
but must exclude FFCR Credits
You are participating in this
Deferral of SS Tax Payment
You are participating in this
EFML and EPSL Credits
but must exclude FFCR Credits
You are participating in this
but must exclude FFCR Credits

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