Hey there GO-HR friends and family!
I hope you’re all hanging in there, staying safe, and navigating through all of this okay. Remember to encourage your employees (and you) to use your Employee Assistance Program (EAP), if you have one, to find someone to talk to!
Now let’s talk documentation for those Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) and Emergency Family Medical Leave Expanded Act (EFMLEA), because the best way to get your tax credits and protect yourself is documentation!
First, if you have not already, CONTACT YOUR PAYROLL COMPANY. Many have developed processes of codes for you to use when you’re submitting payroll for these two leaves. We have been talking to a lot of people and are hearing (and seeing) that many payroll companies are giving great guidance to their clients in this area. If your payroll company is not, it’s time for the person who runs your payroll to rattle a few cages!
Okay, so what do you need to do to document employees’ requests for these two leaves? The Department of Labor has actually given very specific guidance on this. My recommendation? Keep all the related documentation in one file so it’s easy to find. If you put a document in each employee’s file, you may forget who asked for what leave and how much leave they took by the time the end of the year rolls around.
Whether you grant or deny leave, you MUST document the following:
· The name of your employee requesting leave;
· The date(s) for which leave is requested;
· The reason for leave; and
· A statement from the employee that he or she is unable to work because of the reason. (Make sure it is signed and dated!)
If your employee requests leave because he or she is subject to a quarantine or isolation order or to care for an individual subject to such an order, you should additionally document the name of the government entity that issued the order. (I have attached the Stay at Home Order for your convenience.) If your employee requests leave to self-quarantine based on the advice of a health care provider or to care for an individual who is self-quarantining based on such advice, you should additionally document the name of the health care provider who gave advice. (Remember, healthcare professionals are overwhelmed and it may be difficult to get a written notification. Encourage your employees to use telehealth options. We are hearing greater success with this option.)
If your employee requests leave to care for his or her child whose school or place of care is closed, or child care provider is unavailable, you may must also document:
· The name of the child being cared for;
· The name of the school, place of care, or child care provider that has closed or become unavailable; and
· A statement from the employee that no other suitable person is available to care for the child. (Make sure it is signed and dated!)
Remember, the expanded FMLA is ONLY for those who are providing childcare (option 5 on the attached poster) for their children because the children are not in school or daycare.
Paid sick leave should be taken in full-day increments if the employee is unable to telework. If the employee can telework, you and the employee can agree to intermittent PSL.
EFMLEA may be taken intermittently.
If you are an employer that must be in compliance with TRADITIONAL FMLA, traditional FMLA and expanded FMLA can run concurrently. Also, if an employee has used traditional FMLA already in your designated period, that FMLA amount can be deducted from the expanded FMLA allocation. (For example, your FMLA period is Jan. 1-Dec. 31 and on Feb. 1, your employee took 2 weeks off for surgery and recovery. This leaves 10 weeks left in your FMLA period for that employee to use for any other FMLA (traditional or expanded)).
Remember, documentation is your friend. Here is an example we found online of a tracking sheet. Review it to see if it works for you! https://www.mranet.org/resource/ffcra-emergency-paid-leave-absence-tracking-worksheet
Finally, for the full list of DOL FAQs, see this link. https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-questions
As always, we’re here to help!
Sharon Thomas DeLay, MBA, SPHR, SHRM-SCP
614.934.1747 (O) / 614.473.0122 (O) / 614.233.1522 (C)