Second Time Around For The Families First Act

Now that practices are getting back to work, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act is once again relevant and deserving of a reexamination to find out exactly what it means for your practice. Most dental practices were forced to shut down prior to the FFCRA going into effect, so many have not had to comply with this new rule until now. It’s likely some offices have employees who qualify for paid sick leave under the terms of this act, and Benco Dental’s financial planning partners at Cain Watters & Associates are here to help offer clarity and direction to owners who may find themselves impacted. Let’s start with a refresher.

What It Is, How It Works

Beginning in early March, the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division enacted the new Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). Effective through December 31, 2020, the legislation outlines new requirements for paid leave for both employers and employees.

The FFCRA details that employees are entitled to paid sick leave if experiencing issues related to Covid-19. An employee is eligible for up to two weeks (80 hours) of paid leave at the regular rate of pay or the applicable minimum wage (whichever is higher) when quarantining per order of government or health care provider or when seeking a medical diagnosis for Covid-19 symptoms.

If an employee is unable to work out of a need to care for an ill individual that has been quarantined or to care for a child (under 18 years old) whose school is closed or childcare provider is inaccessible due to Covid-19; the employee qualifies for paid sick leave at two-thirds the regular rate of pay. Employees experiencing extended issues related to childcare can receive an additional 10-week paid expanded family and medical leave at two-thirds pay or two-thirds the applicable minimum wage (whichever is higher). However, businesses smaller than 50 employees may be exempt from providing leave due to school closings or childcare if the leave would “jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern.”

Employer Credit

Aside from paid sick leave, the FFCRA provides a refundable credit to employers who are required to pay out either qualifying sick pay or leave pay.  The credits taken on the federal quarterly payroll tax returns are dollar-for-dollar and correspond with the paid leave requirements.

Exemptions

In most situations, under the leave pay rules (FMLEA), a small business is exempt from certain paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave requirements if the employer employs fewer than 50 employees. Practices under 50 employees should claim this exemption, as requiring to pay leave pay for 10 weeks would materially impact practice operations and financial health, according to Cain Watters. However, note that some practices under 50 employees would still not likely qualify for the exemption – and that’s when you especially need expert advice.

Webinar: PPPFA and PPCRA Strategies For Business Owners

If this sounds like it’s getting complicated fast, relax. Cain Watters has a free webinar that helps break down all of this to help you navigate the rules and maximize loan forgiveness, including:

• Changes with the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act

• HR issues with doctor or employee Covid-19 diagnosis

• Application of the Family First Coronavirus Response Act with reopening

Watch it here, or visit Cain Watters & Associates for this and even more helpful resources.