HR Ledger, Inc.

COVID-19 Updates

We here at HR Ledger want to reassure you that we are still committed and dedicated to delivering Quality, Service and Value.  Rest assured that we will be doing our very best to process your payroll and will continue to adapt and find the best alternative available as any additional obstacles arise.

If you are unsure about your hours, or future work schedule, feel free to send your payroll in early for processing. We will try our best to accommodate your needs any way we can.

COVID-19

HR Ledger Updates

COVID-19

Informational Websites

Unemployment EDD Rules

The EDD provides a variety of support services to individuals affected by COVID-19 in California.

https://www.edd.ca.gov/about_edd/coronavirus-2019.htm

State of CA

Updates about Coronavirus (COVID-19) in California.

https://covid19.ca.gov/

State of NV

Updates about Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Nevada.

https://nvhealthresponse.nv.gov/

Counties COVID Websites

The health and safety of our entire County Family and the nearly 40 million people you serve is of utmost importance to California State Association of Counties. We have added this resource page for county-specific communications resources.

https://www.counties.org/carousel/resources-regarding-coronavirus-covid-19

Payroll Companies are a Critical Infrastructure Sector

The Financial Services Sector represents a vital component of our nation’s critical infrastructure.

https://www.cisa.gov/financial-services-sector

CA Stay at Home Order

Overview of the CA executive order N-33-20.

https://www.hrledger.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/3.19.20-EO-N-33-20-COVID-19-HEALTH-ORDER-03.19.2020-signed-1.pdf

IRS Guidance on FFRCA

Treasury, IRS and Labor announce plan to implement Coronavirus-related paid leave for workers and tax credits for small and midsize businesses to swiftly recover the cost of providing Coronavirus-related leave.

https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/treasury-irs-and-labor-announce-plan-to-implement-coronavirus-related-paid-leave-for-workers-and-tax-credits-for-small-and-midsize-businesses-to-swiftly-recover-the-cost-of-providing-coronavirus

Coronavirus Emergency Legislation

In response to the effect on daily life, including in our workplaces, Congress has passed emergency Legislation in an effort to give relief to US workers. Unfortunately, the rush to pass the legislation precluded a careful evaluation of the potential detrimental effect on employers. Therefore, the hastily passed law may have some serious consequences for many employers, including many medium to small employers, trying to deal not only with the plight of their employees, but also with the concerns of their own businesses. 

Since the legislation is so new, there has been little time to evaluate the provisions of the new law. But maybe more importantly, the legislation was passed in such a hurry that many questions regarding interpretation of the law were left unanswered. Finally, most laws passed with deliberate speed have the benefit of not only being more well thought out but also generally have a period of time where the governing agency promulgates regulations that clarify the legal requirements. Once again, this law was passed so swiftly that there are no regulations to provide guidance at this time. 

Within these constraints, below are some provisions of the law that was passed.

Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act

The “Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act”, amends the Family And Medical Leave Act for leave in the event of a public health emergency. It is currently scheduled to go into effect on April 2, 2020 and ends December 31, 2020. 

Under this amendment, an employee is qualified if the employee has been employed for 30 calendar days. While the FMLA previously only applied to employers with 50 or more employees, for purposes of this new emergency leave, the threshold is changed to include every employer with fewer than 500 employees unless the employer can meet the exemption referenced below. Therefore, many employers who are not subject to the FMLA leave for “normal” circumstances will be subject to providing leave for public emergency reasons. So, many employers unfamiliar with providing FMLA may have to become accustomed to doing so. The law provides that the Secretary of Labor has the authority to issue regulations to exempt small businesses with fewer than 50 employees when the imposition of the Act’s requirements would jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern. However, the Secretary has not yet issued the small business exemption regulations and there is no way of knowing whether the Secretary will do so.

Employees who have been on the payroll for 30 calendar days are entitled to leave for a “qualifying need related to a public health emergency.” A “qualifying need” is limited to circumstances where an employee is unable to work (or telework) due to: 

  1. a need for leave to care for the son or daughter under 18 years of age of such employee 

if the school or place of care has been closed, or 2. the child care provider of such son or daughter is unavailable, due to a public health emergency. 

The first ten days of this emergency leave are unpaid; however, an employee may elect to use accrued paid leave (vacation, personal or sick leave). The employer may not require the employee to use accrued leave. 

After the 10 day period, the employer must pay wages for the remaining leave which could be up to 12 weeks. The leave must continue to qualify for an emergency leave reason for the employer to be required to pay. For instance, schools that are closed now will hopefully not be considered closed when the semester ends and summer break begins. Therefore, when school is not in session, the leave may not qualify. Child care provider leave might be another analysis. Hopefully the regulations which are going to be issued by the Secretary of Labor will address this. 

Paid leave is calculated based on not less than two-thirds of an employee’s regular rate of pay and the number of hours the employee would otherwise be normally scheduled to work. 

The employees’ paid leave is limited to a maximum of $200 per day and $10,000 in the aggregate. 

The law has protections for job restoration upon return from leave. The law provides an exception for employers with fewer than 25 employees, if the employee’s position no longer exist due to economic conditions or other changes in operating conditions of the employer that (i) affect employment; and (ii) are caused by a public health emergency during the period of leave. The employer, however, must also make reasonable efforts to restore the employee to a position equivalent to the position the employee held when the leave commenced, with equivalent employment benefits, pay, and other terms and conditions of employment. If this effort fails, the employer must make reasonable efforts to contact the employee if an equivalent position becomes available for a 1 year period measured from the date the need for leave ends or the 12 week period ends. 

The law allows the Secretary of Labor to exclude health care providers and emergency responders from the definition of employees who are allowed to take such leave, and to exempt small businesses (defined as those with fewer than 50 employees) if the required leave would jeopardize the viability of their business. The final bill also expressly provides that employers may exclude employees who are health care providers or emergency responders from this emergency FMLA entitlement. 

The requirements under this law are scheduled to expire December 31, 2020.

Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act

The “Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act” which is scheduled to go into effect on April 2, 2020, requires an employer to immediately provide paid leave to an employee unable to work (or telework) due to a need for leave because: 

(1) The employee is subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19; (2) The employee has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19; (3) The employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis; (4) The employee is caring for an individual who is subject to quarantine or isolation order or has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine; (5) The employee is caring for a son or daughter of such employee if the school or place of care of the son or daughter has been closed, or the child care provider of such son or daughter is unavailable, due to COVID-19 precautions, or (6) The employee is experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of Labor. 

Generally, a full time employee is entitled to paid sick time of 80 hours and part-time employee to an amount equal to the average hours the employee works over a 2-week period. 

An employer’s liability for qualified sick leave wages is $200 per day ($511 in the case of any day any portion of which is paid sick time described in paragraph (1), (2), or (3)) for any day (or portion thereof).. The law provides that the government will reimburse the employer for the paid leave which may be done in the form of a tax credit. More details regarding how reimbursement will be conducted will be necessary. 

The law protects employees from retaliation by their employer if they take leave in accordance with the law. The failure to pay the wages is treated as a failure to pay minimum wages in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act. 

The requirements under this law are scheduled to expire December 31, 2020.

Relief for Employers

The current law includes tax credits and other means of reimbursement for employers required to comply with this law. We anticipate additional legislation to provide monetary relief for employers. 

We plan to continue to provide updates as the law may be amended and regulations passed. If you have specific questions, please call. 

Rules Affecting Employers as of Wednesday, March 18th

Families First Corona Virus Response Act

March 18th, the president signed the Families First Corona Virus Response Act into law. Of special interest to us and our customers are the employer-related sections. Among other things, this law mandates emergency paid sick leave and paid FMLA to cover specific circumstances related to COVID-19. (It offers payroll tax credits to offset wages paid under these sections.)

Employers have two weeks from today (until April 2, 2020) to implement this mandate. The DOL will publish employee notice samples within one week. We can also expect additional guidance on wage determination for variable hour workers and other clarifications from the Secretary of Labor.

Our customers will need assistance in managing these new programs through our system. We encourage you to contact customers, review their current benefit settings, and coordinate with their payroll providers.

The Attendance on Demand team will follow up soon with best practices and considerations for configuring our system to support the emergency sick and FMLA requirements. In the meantime, you can become familiar with the Act’s mandates.

EMERGENCY PAID SICK LEAVE

The emergency paid sick leave provision applies to employers with fewer than 500 employees. It allows a waiver for employers with fewer than 50 employees when the viability of the business would be jeopardized by paying emergency sick leave. However, the waiver process is yet to be defined.

Benefit Amount

2 weeks of employer paid emergency sick leave defined as:

  • 80 hours for full time employees
  • Average number of hours over 2 week period for part time employees
  • When part time hours vary significantly, 2 weeks of leave determined by
    • Weekly average hours over the 6 months preceding the first use of emergency sick leave
    • If employed less than 6 months, the expectation set at hire for average weekly hours

Benefit Management

The act specifies the following rules for administration of emergency paid sick leave:

  • It is available immediately to all employees, regardless of length of employment.
  • It is available only for purposes described in the following section.
  • Employees cannot be required to use other forms of paid leave first.
  • Employees cannot be required to find a replacement employee.
  • Employer may require reasonable notice after the first day of paid sick leave in order to continue receiving it.
  • Employers of healthcare workers and emergency responders may opt out for these employees.
  • Valid through December 31, 2020 or earlier if need ceases.
  • No carryover.
  • No payout on separation.

Use and Compensation

EMERGENCY FMLA EXPANSION

FMLA rules are temporarily changed to provide payment for employees who must miss work because they are caring for their own children when schools are closed or day care is unavailable due to COVID-19. This benefit expires December 31, 2020.

Eligibility

  • Employer eligibility changed to any employer with fewer than 500 employees. (As with the emergency sick leave, the law establishes an as-yet undefined process for employers with fewer than 50 employees to apply for a waiver.)
  • Employee eligibility changed to employed 30 calendar days.
  • Employers may opt out for healthcare workers and emergency responders.

Qualifying Event

  • Employees unable to work or telework due to caring for son or daughter under 18 when school or daycare is closed or child care provider is unavailable due to COVID-19.
  • Applies to hours they would otherwise be working during the COVID-19 healthcare emergency.

Payment

  • Leave unpaid for first 10 days.
    • Employee may elect to use any accrued leave including the emergency leave during this time
  • After 10 days
    • Not less than two-thirds of an employee’s FLSA regular rate of pay
    • Not to exceed $200 per day and $10,000 in total

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

The following links provide more information about the Families First Corona Virus Response Act:

In addition, look for communication from Attendance on Demand in the coming days with technical tips about configuration.