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Monday, March 30, 2020
You are here : About SSA  >  SSA News
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Expanded Leave Law to Affect Self Storage Operators

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Expanded Leave Law to Affect Self Storage Operators

 

Last week, Congress passed and the President signed legislation to provide many employees with expanded paid family and medical leave in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (the “Act”) will take effect on April 2, 2020. The Act will have a significant effect on self storage businesses and their employees. Read on to learn how the Act will affect you.

 

Which Employers Are Required To Comply?

 

The Act applies only to employers with fewer than 500 employees. Businesses with fewer than 50 employees may qualify for an exemption from the requirement to provide leave due to school closings or child care unavailability if the leave requirements would jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern. The Secretary of Labor is expected to issue regulations on the availability of exemptions by April.

 

Does the Act Permanently Change the Family and Medical Leave Act?

 

No, the Act does not permanently change the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The Act’s expanded leave provisions apply only until December 31, 2020 and only if the employee requests leave for the reasons set forth below.

 

Which Employees Qualify for Leave?

 

Generally speaking, all employees, whether full-time or part-time and regardless of tenure, qualify for leave if they meet the criteria discussed below. An employee is eligible for additional leave to care for a child whose school or place of care is closed only if the employee has been employed a minimum of 30 days.

 

Must an Employee Provide Notice Before Taking Leave?

 

No. Where leave is foreseeable, an employee should provide notice of leave to the employer as is practicable. After the first workday of paid sick time, an employer may require employees to follow reasonable notice procedures in order to continue receiving paid sick time.

 

What Are the Reasons and Duration for Leave? What is the Required Rate of Pay?

 

Under the Act, an employee qualifies for expanded family and medical leave if the employee is unable to work (or unable to telework) for the following reasons. The amount of compensation and duration of leave differ depending on the reason for leave so employers are encouraged to review the requirements closely.

 

Reason 1: The employee is subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19;

Duration: A full-time employee is eligible for up to 80 hours of leave, and a part-time employee is eligible for the number of hours of leave that the employee works on average over a two-week period.

Rate of Pay: Either the employee’s regular rate or the applicable minimum wage, whichever is higher, up to $511 per day and $5,110 in the aggregate (over a 2-week period).

 

Reason 2: The employee has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine related to COVID-19.

Duration: A full-time employee is eligible for up to 80 hours of leave, and a part-time employee is eligible for the number of hours of leave that the employee works on average over a two-week period.

Rate of Pay: Either the employee’s regular rate or the applicable minimum wage, whichever is higher, up to $511 per day and $5,110 in the aggregate (over a 2-week period).

 

Reason 3: The employee is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and is seeking a medical diagnosis.

Duration: A full-time employee is eligible for up to 80 hours of leave, and a part-time employee is eligible for the number of hours of leave that the employee works on average over a two-week period.

Rate of Pay: Either the employee’s regular rate or the applicable minimum wage, whichever is higher, up to $511 per day and $5,110 in the aggregate (over a 2-week period).

 

Reason 4: The employee is caring for an individual subject to an order described in (1) or self-quarantine as described in (2).

Duration: A full-time employee is eligible for up to 80 hours of leave, and a part-time employee is eligible for the number of hours of leave that the employee works on average over a two-week period.

Rate of Pay: 2/3 of the employee’s regular rate or 2/3 the applicable minimum wage, whichever is higher, up to $200 per day and $2,000 in the aggregate (over a 2-week period).

 

Reason 5: The employee is caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed (or child care provider is unavailable) for reasons related to COVID-19.

Duration: A full-time employee is eligible for up to 12 weeks of leave at 40 hours a week, and a part-time employee is eligible for leave for the number of hours that the employee is normally scheduled to work over that period.

Rate of Pay: 2/3 of the employee’s regular rate or 2/3 the applicable minimum wage, whichever is higher, up to $200 per day and $12,000 in the aggregate (over a 12-week period—two weeks of paid sick leave followed by up to 10 weeks of paid expanded family and medical leave. The ten weeks is available only if the employee has been employed for 30 days.).

 

Reason 6: The employee is experiencing any other substantially-similar condition specified by the certain Cabinet officials.

Duration: A full-time employee is eligible for up to 80 hours of leave, and a part-time employee is eligible for the number of hours of leave that the employee works on average over a two-week period.

Rate of Pay: 2/3 of the employee’s regular rate or 2/3 the applicable minimum wage, whichever is higher, up to $200 per day and $2,000 in the aggregate (over a 2-week period).

 

How Does an Employer Notify Its Employees of the Act?

 

Employers must post a notice about leave entitlements in a conspicuous location within the job site. The Department of Labor is expected to publish a model notice soon. We hope that the DOL will also issue guidance for how to notify employees who are working off-site. We will advise our membership when we have more information.

 

What Tax Credits Are Available to Employers Who Make Leave Payments?

 

Under IRS guidance that will be released this week, employers who make leave payments will be able to retain an amount of the payroll taxes equal to the amount of qualifying leave payments that they paid, rather than deposit those taxes with the IRS.

 

The payroll taxes that are available for retention include withheld federal income taxes, the employee share of Social Security and Medicare taxes, and the employer share of Social Security and Medicare taxes with respect to all employees.

 

The IRS has advised that employers will be able to file a request for an accelerated payment from the IRS if there are not sufficient payroll taxes to cover the cost of qualified leave payments. The IRS expects to process these requests in two weeks or less. The details of this new, expedited procedure will be announced soon.

 

What Job Protection Does an Employee Have If Leave Is Taken?

 

Employers may not discharge, discipline, or otherwise discriminate against any employee who takes leaves under the Act or who files a complaint or proceeding pursuant to the Act. The extended leave available to care for a child is job protected; however, employers with fewer than 25 employees are exempt if the employee’s position is eliminated because of economic slowdowns related to the declaration of a public health emergency and the employer attempts to restore the employee’s employment within a year.

 

Please email Joe Doherty with any questions.

 

 

 

 

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