Navigating New Stimulus Laws: Part 2 – Expanded Paid Leave Requirements

By Heather Kazmark • April 15, 2020

The recently passed series of economic relief laws include several new requirements related to workers that will impact associations and their member organizations. Understanding expanded paid leave laws is essential for employers that will need to make sure they’re meeting new federal guidelines meant to protect those fighting the new coronavirus.

New Paid Leave Laws Affect Associations

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) placed requirements on certain employers to expand paid family and medical leave policies if an employee is unable to work for reasons related to COVID-19 global pandemic. There are two divisions within the FFCRA that provide for emergency paid leave for employees affected by the new coronavirus. Under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA), employers are required to provide paid sick time for certain employees, totally up to two weeks of paid leave. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is amended by the other division – the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act” (EFMLEA) – and permits employees to take up to 12 weeks of expanded family and medical leave for qualified COVID-19-related reasons. The CARES Act amended certain provisions provided for in the EPSLA and EFMLEA under the FFCRA.

Businesses and nonprofits that are closed or have furloughed employees because of a lack of work are not required to provide paid leave under the FFCRA. It is also important to note that some FMLA exemptions exist for employers with less than 50 employees. Organizations can refer to the U.S. Department of Labor’s temporary rule on paid leave for more details. Associations and their memberships should seek further guidance from policy professionals on how recently enacted laws pertain to their organizations and employees in order to ensure they are under compliance with federal law.

Additionally, nonprofit employers with fewer than 500 employees are entitled to claim refundable tax credits on qualified sick leave wages and qualified family leave wages paid under the FFCRA. Certain employers are entitled to the Employee Retention Credit for required leave paid, up to specified limits, and may qualify for an advance payment on the credits.

Provisions in the CARES Act also allow for deferment of 2020 Social Security payroll taxes until 2021 and 2022. While deferring payroll taxes in the present may provide associations and their members with cash on hand, they must consider whether paying those taxes later would be a better option.

Read Part 1 of our 3-part series on Navigating New Stimulus Laws, which explained financial relief options available, including the Paycheck Protection Program and Emergency Injury Disaster Loan Program expansion. Part 3 looks at what associations can expect to happen next in Congress.

Disclaimer: The information included in this article is only for informational purposes and is only an interpretation made based on available information that is subject to change. The information should not be construed as legal or tax advice, nor does Naylor Government Affairs provide legal or tax advice in any context. Any action taken related to these matters should only be done in conjunction with the appropriate legal and/or other professional advice.

About The Author

Heather Kazmark, MA, is a government affairs specialist with Naylor Association Solutions. She handles advocacy activities for several associations across the country. Her background includes having held positions in state government, political campaigns, and legislative and regulatory tracking. She has a master’s degree in public law and American government. Reach her at [email protected].