Client Alerts, News Articles & Blog Posts

Everything you need to know about BMD and the industry.

FFCRA & Payroll Tax Credit: How Does it Work?

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”) provides for refundable payroll tax credits for employers in order to assist with the cost of providing Coronavirus-related leave to their employees. These refundable payroll tax credits are designed to reimburse small and midsize employers for the cost of providing COVID-19-related leave to their employees. This tax credit goes into effect on April 1, 2020 and will remain in effect until December 31, 2020 unless extended or modified.

Who can utilize the tax credit? 

The refundable credits are available to any eligible employer. An eligible employer is a business or tax-exempt organization with fewer than 500 employees who is required to provide emergency paid leave under the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (“EFMLEA”) or the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (“EPSLA”). Self-employed individuals also receive an equivalent credit.

What is the tax credit?

The FFCRA provides a refundable tax credit against the employer’s payroll tax deposit. The tax credits are equal to 100% of the amount an employer pays under the EFMLEA and the EPSLA up to a per employee cap.

Employers are limited to a refundable credit for wages paid pursuant to sick leave at two separate pay rates depending on the reason the person is unable to work. If the employee is unable to work because the employee has Coronavirus symptoms or is in a Coronavirus quarantine, whether a self-quarantine or not, the employer’s tax credit is capped at the employee’s regular pay rate, up to $511 per day, for up to 10 days, or $5,110 total aggregate per employee. If an employee is unable to work because the employee is caring for a family member with Coronavirus or caring for a child because of school or childcare facilities closing and the closing is related to COVID-19, the employer’s tax credit is capped at the employee’s regular pay rate, up to $200 per day, for up to 10 days, or $2,000 total aggregate per employee.

Example 1: An employee has Coronavirus symptoms and is seeking a medical diagnosis. The employee is a full-time employee with a pay rate of $30 per hour. The employee works 8 hours per day and is unable to work for 14 days. The employer would receive a tax credit of $2,400 (8 hours per day x $30 per hour x 10 days).

Example 2: Same situation as above, except the employee has a payrate of $40 per hour is unable to work because the employee must take care of a parent who has Coronavirus symptoms. In this example, the employer would receive a tax credit of $2,000 (10 days x $200 per day). The amount of credit is capped in this example because 2/3 of the employee’s regular rate of pay is more than $200 per day.

In addition to the refundable tax credits outlined above, the FFCRA also provides a refundable tax credit to employers for an employee who is unable to work because the employee must care for a child whose school or childcare facility is closed or whose childcare provider is unavailable due to the Coronavirus. In this situation, an employer may receive a refundable child care leave credit for up to 10 weeks of the employee’s qualifying leave. The refundable credit for child care leave is capped at the employee’s regular pay rate, or $200 per day, or $10,000 total aggregate per employee. Employers are also entitled to an additional credit based on the costs to maintain health insurance during the child care leave period.

How are the tax credits refundable?

All tax credits under FFCRA are refundable. That means if an employer’s payroll tax deposit is less than the total FFCRA tax credits, the employer would be eligible to file a request for an accelerated credit for the amount above the employer’s payroll tax deposit. The credit can be used to offset all federal income tax withholding from all employees (including those still working) and both the employer and employee portions of Social Security and Medicare taxes for all employees.

For example, an employer has $4,000 in total tax credits for all employees currently unable to work because of COVID-19. The employer prepares its payroll taxes and has a payroll tax deposit required of $3,000. The employer would use the entire $3,000 to pay the employees’ leave payments instead of depositing that amount with the IRS. The employer can then request the remaining $1,000 as an accelerated payment.

I am self-employed, how do I claim the credits?

A self-employed individual will claim these tax credits on his/her personal income tax return. The tax credits will reduce the individuals estimated tax payments.

For additional questions related to the FFCRA and Payroll Tax Credit, please contact BMD Tax Law Attorney Tracy Albanese at tlalbanese@bmdllc.com or (330) 253-9195.

The Masks Are Back: New OSHA Regulations for Healthcare Employers

Employment Law After Hours is back with a News Break Episode. Yesterday, OSHA published new rules for healthcare facilities, including hospitals, home health employers, nursing homes, ambulance companies, and assisted living facilities. These new rules are very cumbersome, requiring mask wearing for all employees, even those that are vaccinated. The only exception is for fully vaccinated employees (2 weeks post final dose) who are in a "well-defined" area where there is no reasonable expectation that any person with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 will be present.

New OSHA Guidance for Workplaces Not Covered by the Healthcare Emergency Temporary Standard

On June 10, 2021, OSHA issued an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) for occupational exposure to COVID-19, but it applies only to healthcare and healthcare support service workers. For a detailed summary of the ETS applicable to the healthcare industry, please visit https://youtu.be/vPyXmKwOzsk. All employers not subject to the ETS should review OSHA’s contemporaneously released, updated Guidance on Mitigating and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in the Workplace. The new Guidance essentially leaves intact OSHA’s earlier guidance, but only for unvaccinated and otherwise at-risk workers (“at-risk” meaning vaccinated or unvaccinated workers with immunocompromising conditions). For fully vaccinated workers, OSHA defers to CDC Guidance for Fully Vaccinated People, which advises that most fully vaccinated people can resume activities without wearing masks or physically distancing, except where required by federal, state, or local laws or individual business policies.

Employer Liability for COVID-19 Vaccine Side Effects

As employers encourage or require employees to obtain a COVID-19 vaccine, they should be aware of OSHA recording obligations and potential workers’ compensation liability. Though OSHA has yet to revise its COVID-19 guidance in response to the latest CDC recommendations, OSHA has revised its position regarding the recording of injury or illness resulting from the vaccine. Until now, OSHA required an employer to record an adverse reaction when the vaccine was required for employees and the injury or illness otherwise met the recording criteria (work-related, a new case, and meets one or more of the general recording criteria). OSHA has reversed course and announced that it will not require recording adverse reactions until at least May 2022, irrespective of whether the employer requires the vaccine as a condition of employment. In its revised COVID-19 FAQs, OSHA states:

The New Rule 1.510 - Radical Change for Summary Judgement Procedure in Florida

In civil litigation, where both sides participate actively, trial is usually required at the end of a long, expensive case to determine a winner and a loser. In federal and most state courts, however, there are a few procedural shortcuts by which parties can seek to prevail in advance of trial, saving time, money and annoyance. The most common of these is the “motion for summary judgment”: a request to the court by one side for judgment before trial, generally on the basis that the evidence available reflects that a win for that party is legally inevitable and thus required. Effective May 1, 2021, summary judgment procedure in Florida has radically changed.

Vacating, Modifying or Correcting an Arbitration Award Under R.C. 2711.13: Three-Month Limitation Maximum; Not Guaranteed Amount of Time

In a recent decision, the Supreme Court of Ohio held that neither R.C. 2711.09 nor R.C. 2711.13 requires a court to wait three months after an arbitration award is issued before confirming the award. R.C. 2711.13 provides that “after an award in an arbitration proceeding is made, any party to the arbitration may file a motion in the court of common pleas for an order vacating, modifying, or correcting the award.” Any such motion to vacate, modify, or correct an award “must be served upon the adverse party or his attorney within three months after the award is delivered to the parties in interest.” In BST Ohio Corporation et al. v. Wolgang, the Court held the three-month period set forth in R.C. 2711.13 is not a guaranteed time period in which to file a motion to vacate, modify, or correct an arbitration award. 2021-Ohio-1785.