We want make sure you are aware of the emergency unemployment assistance program under the federal CARES Act being made available this week. PUA provides assistance for unemployed or partially unemployed individuals who are not eligible for regular unemployment insurance and who are unable or unavailable to work due to COVID-19 related circumstances. Please note this only applies to U.S. based schools.

The Employment Development Department (EDD) will be accepting online applications for this program beginning on Tuesday, April 28, 2020.

This might be helpful for your employees if your school, church or other qualified organization does NOT pay into Unemployment Taxes.

Helpful definitions:

The CARES Act includes the Paycheck Protection Loan Program, providing funding to small businesses and nonprofit organizations (under 500 employees) to cover up to 8 weeks of payroll and related costs, with such loan to be entirely forgiven if an employer maintains all of its employees and salaries during the period of time commencing February 15, 2020 through June 30, 2020. Loan proceeds may be use for payroll costs, employee salaries (with some exceptions for salaries in excess of 100k/year), commissions, costs related to group health care benefits (including sick, medical or family leave and insurance premiums), interest payments on mortgage obligations or other debt obligations incurred prior to February 15, 2020, rent and utilities. Under the language of the Act, churches and religious organizations are not excluded, and according to at least one Senator, churches may participate in this program. To qualify for forgiveness, employers must retain employees through a specified period of time and a few options are provided to the borrower as to how to calculate employees during that time period. There are also provisions relating to payroll tax delay and payroll tax credits for retaining employees if the business has closed due to COVID-19, but the credit will not apply to wages paid to clergy in exercise of their ministerial duties. Other loan programs are available to larger businesses (over 500 employees). This program is administered by the Small Business Administration (SBA) and more information can be found at sba.gov.

The CARES Act also includes Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.
This extends coverage to workers who are self-employed, seeking part-time employment (if permitted under state law), do not have sufficient work history, or otherwise would not qualify for regular unemployment under state or federal law and become unemployed or cannot find work due to COVID-19. This includes workers laid off from churches and religious institutions who may not be eligible under the state’s program. Workers will only be eligible for PUA if they are unemployed for specified reasons relating to COVID-19. Unemployment will be administered by each state.

Families First Coronavirus Response Act

  • Requires paid leave for parents to care for children who are out of school/daycare due to COVID-19
  • Requires paid sick leave for employees due to specific issues related to COVID-19
  • Provides a refundable payroll tax credit to loyer for costs of paying leave
  • Effective for leave take between April 1 and Dec 31, 2020. The act is NOT retroactive. Applies to employers who engaged in commerce or in any industry or activity affecting commerce AND having fewer than 500 employees. If a church has fewer than 500 employees and it is affecting commerce, the leave provisions will apply to the church.
  • These laws DO APPLY if you already gave employees PTO.

FMLA: Paid Public Health Emergency Leave

  • Covers All employees who have been employed 30 calendar days or longer and does not matter whether employee is FT, PT, exempt, non-exempt
  • Available to employees unable to work, including unable to work remotely, because the employee’s child’s school or daycare is closed due to a public health emergency with respect to COVID-19
  • Employees can take up to twelve weeks– but the first 10 days are unpaid, unless employee elects to be covered by employer-provided time off (vacation, personal days, etc.) or FFCRA Paid Sick Leave
  • Employees are entitled to: After the first 10 days, 2/3 of their regular pay, up to $200 per day; cap of $10,000 in the aggregate

 

Take care, be safe and stay healthy!

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