This affects ALL New Hampshire small businesses that have employees.
All of this goes into effect on April 2, and expires on December 31, 2020. There are NO small employer exceptions to this, as enacted in the final law.
In the big scheme of things we have two acts, the Emegency Paid Sick Leave Act ( EPSL) and we have Emergency Family and Medical Leave Act (EFML). Both acts require employers to pay employees for lost time. The amounts that are paid are ‘Qualified Wages’, and the employer will get a REFUNDABLE credit on their quarterly payroll taxes ( Form 941) reducing the taxes owed.
If an employee needs to take a leave because of the Coronavirus crisis, this affects you.
So let’s dig a little deeper:
EPSL Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (for the 1st ten days of a leave)
Employees are eligible if they are FULL TIME for any length of time and:
- Subject to quarantine or isolation order (aren’t we all?)
- Advised to self quarantine
- Having Covid symptoms
- Caring for another individual subject to quarantine
- Caring for a child if school or daycare is unavailable
- Other similar conditions
Employees get 80 hours at their regular rate for conditions 1, 2 , and 3 and are paid 2/3’s regular rates for 4, 5, or 6. The maximum is $511 per day for conditions 1 to 3, and $200 a day for 4 to 6.
NOTE: For the first 10 days of an employee getting a jpb-protected leave under the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Act, we recommend they be paid under these EPSL guidelines.
Emergency Family and Medical Leave Act (EFML).
Who is eligible: Any employee who worked for you for at least 30 days may take up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave to allow an employee, who is unable to work, to care for employee’s child if child’s school or daycare provider is closed due to a public health emergency. This is the ONLY qualifying need.
For the first 10 days of leave, the employer should follow the guidelines for the Emergency Paid Sick Leave act, although the this act does make this much more complicated, but I have dumbed this down.
After the 10 days, the employer must pay the employee at 2/3’s the employee’s regular rate. This is limited to $200 per day, and $10,000 in aggregate. Part time workers are entitled based on average number of hours.
SPECIAL NOTE: This law is very far reaching, and, we believe, be very difficult for small businesses to comply. On top of this, employees can also seek out newly expanded unemployment benefits as well. Business owners should probably consult with their small business tax accountants, attorney, and/or payroll provider for additional assistance.
As we learn more about this act and the impact on small businesses operating in New Hampshire we will try to keep you apprised.
The resource I used to prepare this synopsis and my interpretation is https://www.ballardspahr.com/alertspublications/legalalerts/2020-03-19-fed-leg-update-president-trump-signs-hr-6201
Thank you and stay safe,
Steven Feinberg and the amazing staff at Appletree Business Services