Your Guide to Navigating COVID-19

The global impact of COVID-19 continues to evolve. Use these resources to stay safe and informed.


Check out our additional resources on returning to work.

Trusted Updates

CDC Guidance
Coronavirus Disease
WHO Guidance
Coronavirus Outbreak

Staying Healthy

Learn how to protect yourself and others from getting sick, as well as tips to manage anxiety and stress during the outbreak.
The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the coronavirus.
That’s why government officials are recommending that everyone practice social distancing measures at this time. The CDC has issued official guidelines.
Even if you are young, or otherwise healthy, you may still be at risk and your activities can increase the risk for others. It is critical that we all do our part to slow the spread of the coronavirus:
  • Get a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Wear a mask to protect yourself and others and stop the spread of COVID-19.
  • Stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arm lengths) from others who don’t live with you.
  • Avoid crowds and poorly ventilated spaces. The more people you are in contact with, the more likely you are to be exposed to COVID-19.
  • Practice good hygiene by washing your hands, especially after touching any frequently used item or surface.
Per CDC guidance, older adults and people who have severe underlying chronic medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness. They should consult with their health care provider about additional steps they may be able to take to protect themselves.

Review the official guidelines issued by the White House & CDC.

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People can—and often do—experience strong feelings of anxiety when it comes to developing health crises, especially when our normal routines have been upended as a result.
In the workplace, leading and creating a sense of physical and intellectual safety starts with making sure your team knows where to go to get trustworthy, up-to-date, and accurate information. Maintaining it requires that you also listen to people’s individual concerns and respond in kind.
Our friends at Shine have also collected some great resources to help you and your team navigate stress and anxiety from the coronavirus outbreak. Care for Your Coronavirus Anxiety.
Aetna’s employee assistance program, Resources For Living, is also offering support and resources to individuals and organizations who have been impacted by COVID-19, whether or not they have RFL included as part of their benefits.
Individuals and organizations who don’t have RFL can contact the service at 1-833-327-AETNA (1-833-327-2386). Employers may contact the specialized support line at 1-800-243-5240.
For individuals and organizations that don’t have RFL, measures include: In-the-moment phone support to help callers cope with the emotional impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Community resource referrals, including support services in the local area, and Management consultation to help organizations respond to the needs of their employees, even if they are not RFL customers.
Kaiser Permanente is also providing members with access to Calm, a meditation and sleep app, at no cost. Calm is available to adult members in all regions except for Kaiser Permanente Washington members. Registration to Calm must begin at kp.org/selfcareapps.
Below are some other resources the Justworks team has benefitted from. We hope that you, or someone you care about, will find comfort in them too.

Our customer Shine has created a great resource for managing anxiety and stress related to the COVID-19 outbreak.

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Remote Work Tips

Find helpful Work From Home resources from Justworks, ideas on how to support your team, and remote productivity tips.
We’re glad you asked! We’ve created a public, collaborative list of helpful links for anyone working (and living) from home and looking for great ideas and accessible resources for staying happy, healthy, and safe during this crazy time. Whether you’re home alone, working alongside a roommate, a spouse, or your kids — we’ve got something for you.
All new ideas are welcome, so please consider suggesting new resources or sections in the comments. Feel free to share this wide and far. We’re all in this together!

Stay happy, healthy, and safe with the Justworks guide to remote life resources.

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Today’s near-necessity to work from home has pushed remote operations into the spotlight. Even without that push, the rise of remote work and the trend of in-house and remote teams for many companies have led to employers finding new ways to manage and support remote employees.
Consider a few of these tactics when leading your remote team.

Shifting to remote work? Get practical tips for workers and employers.

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Establish consistency. Consider setting and socializing a cadence for when your team can expect updates from you. Follow through even if it’s just for a quick check-in. This can help to reduce the noise and create a degree of certainty around which business operations can continue more normally. As new information about COVID-19 becomes available, check trusted sources before acting on it.
Level set that the situation is fluid and will be for some time. You are likely making many decisions daily. One way you can help alleviate some of the associated stress is to make sure you communicate any changes in policy or planning and inform people about the reasoning behind these changes, too. As a rule of thumb, providing context for your decisions is especially important in times like these—and enhanced by the inability to interact face-to-face. Context helps to align your team and will enable people to respond more effectively to new and unexpected developments on their own down the line. (They will happen.)

Help your team stay informed about COVID-19 with trusted updates from Health Advocate.

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Many teams have made the move to remote work in the midst of the evolving COVID-19 pandemic. If your team has made the switch to working from home, check out these tips and best practices to help your team stay productive, maintain trust, and keep the lines of communication open as your business shifts toward remote operations.
Bonus: Many of us now also find ourselves working at home alongside a partner or loved one for the first time. Try these tips for working from home with your partner. We've also written about cybersecurity in the midst of COVID-19 on our blog. Find out what to look out for to keep your valuable information safe during this time.

Make the most of your time with these WFH productivity tips.

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Employer Requirements

Find answers to important questions about running your business, how to address COVID-19, and navigate other business considerations. We're here to help, 24/7.
When considering whether to require employees to get vaccinated, employers have a lot to consider, including obligations under workplace safety and anti-discrimination laws. Among other things, employers should review guidance from OSHA and the EEOC and check to see if there are state or local laws that apply. As always, if you’re unsure about your legal obligations, it’s a best practice to consult with legal counsel.
As of January 7, 2021, OSHA has yet to issue guidance on whether an employer is required or permitted to mandate employees get the COVID-19 vaccine. However, employers have a general duty under OSHA to keep workspaces free from recognized hazards that are likely to cause death or serious physical harm.” Additionally, in the past, OSHA has stated that employers may require flu vaccines provided they do not retaliate against an employee who refuses vaccination because of a reasonable belief that he or she has a medical condition that creates a real danger of serious illness or death. Be sure to check OSHA’s COVID-19 website regularly for COVID-specific vaccine guidance.
Meanwhile, the EEOC has weighed in on various important equal employment opportunity issues for employers contemplating mandatory or voluntary vaccination programs. Among them, employers need to be mindful not to discriminate against employees who are unable to be vaccinated due to a qualifying disability under the ADA or due to a sincerely held religious belief. In these circumstances, employers will need to evaluate both whether the unvaccinated employee poses a direct threat to the safety of others by being in the workplace as well as whether there are reasonable accommodations available, such as remote working, that would allow the employee to perform the essential functions of the job.

As an employer, you should weigh your options when it comes to implementing vaccine-related policies.

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While many employers may choose to encourage rather than require the COVID-19 vaccine, employers who do mandate vaccination should prepare for disability and religious accommodation requests from employees, as well as continually developing guidance from public health authorities.
However you choose to approach the COVID-19 vaccine, you should review and update your inoculation policies now, taking into account the CDC’s recommendations for flu shots and the anticipated COVID-19 vaccine.

As an employer, you should weigh your options when it comes to implementing vaccine-related policies.

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Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act, you have an obligation as an employer to provide a safe workplace, free from known hazards.
In order to provide such a workplace, employers can take a page from the official OSHA recommendations. Precautions include promoting a healthy and sanitized workplace, educating employees on protective behaviors, like cough and sneeze etiquette and hand hygiene, and minimizing or eliminating in-person interaction between employees and/or with customers.
Employers should follow guidance from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to understand if additional workplace disclosures or protections apply.
Beyond any requirements, it’s a best practice to keep your employees updated. As we published on our blog, one of the most important things you can do is to communicate openly with your team about what’s happening.
Here are some other tips on how to keep your team safe and informed.
  • Provide Trusted Resources: Given the outbreak’s international nature, we suggest sharing both the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) resources as trusted references. In addition to providing your employees with resources, be human. Let people know that you’re up-to-speed and monitoring the COVID-19 situation closely.
  • Establish Consistency: Consider setting and socializing a cadence for when your team can expect updates from you. Follow through even if it’s just for a quick check-in. This can help to reduce the noise and create a degree of certainty around which business operations can continue more normally. As new information about COVID-19 becomes available, check trusted sources before acting on it.
  • Talk About Hygiene and Plan for Continuity: We also suggest that you review the CDC’s interim guidance for employers. It details proactive steps you can take, especially regarding sick employees. The CDC guidance for employers also provides business continuity planning considerations.
  • Explain Your Actions: Make sure you communicate any changes in policy or planning and inform people about the reasoning behind these changes too. As a rule of thumb, providing context for your decisions is especially important in times like these. It helps to align your team and will enable people to respond more effectively to new and unexpected developments on their own down the line.

Get more tips on how to communicate about the COVID-19 pandemic to your employees.

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As of March 16, 2020, the White House’s official guidance is for all people to work or engage in schooling from home whenever possible. If you haven’t done so already, you should assess or reassess which roles absolutely require the employee’s physical presence in order to perform the essential job functions of that role.
Some states have issued even stricter guidance and mandates in some cases. In New York, for example, beginning on March 22, 2020, Governor Cuomo mandated that 100% of the workforce must stay home, excluding essential services like Medical facilities, Pharmacies, Grocery & liquor stores, and Restaurants (take-out and delivery only).
The requirements impacting your office will continue to shift daily. As such, we recommend that you check your state’s website regularly for the most up to date guidance.
Per OSHA’s Hazard Recognition page, employers that remain open are required to assess the hazards to which their workers may be exposed; evaluate the risk of exposure; and select, implement, and ensure workers use controls to prevent exposure. Control measures may include a combination of engineering and administrative controls, safe work practices, and personal protective equipment.
  • If you choose to close your office, you should communicate to your employees as far in advance as possible.
  • Even if you see remote work as a last resort for your business, start requiring that your employees bring all necessary equipment home with them each night. The situation could evolve rapidly and new mandates, like a “shelter in place” order, could come into effect after business hours. Make sure your people are ready to go remote.
  • You should clearly outline whether “closing the office” means employees should cease working, or if it means they should begin working remotely.

Visit OSHA’s Hazard Recognition page to understand if special considerations apply to your business.

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If an employee is confirmed to have COVID-19, employers should inform fellow employees of their possible exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace but maintain confidentiality as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Employees exposed to a co-worker with confirmed COVID-19 should refer to CDC guidance for what to do. This resource is being updated regularly and is based on the latest available information.
If your office is still open, separate the sick employee. The CDC recommends that employees who appear to have acute respiratory illness symptoms (i.e. cough, shortness of breath) upon arrival to work or become sick during the day should be separated from other employees and be sent home immediately.
Employees who are well but who have a sick family member at home with COVID-19 should notify you or their supervisor and refer to CDC guidance for how to conduct a risk assessment of their potential exposure.

CDC's exposure response page is updated regularly, start here.

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We suggest that you review the CDC’s interim guidance for employers. It details proactive steps you can take now, especially regarding sick employees, as well as how you can tailor your approach as the situation unfolds.
OSHA’s existing guidance on continuity planning for a pandemic is also relevant to COVID-19.

Get OSHA's resource on continuity planning for a pandemic.

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If you haven't already, to ensure people’s safety, and based on the CDC’s guidance for travelers, we strongly suggest that you take steps to cancel or postpone all nonessential employee travel and promote alternatives like video meetings.

Review and follow CDC's guidance on travel.

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State and local government websites are being updated on a daily basis to introduce and clarify new emergency legislation that has been passed, and to highlight existing programs that will be helpful to workers during this time. You should check state and local sites as they apply to your business, and confer with legal counsel to determine how these may apply.
ThinkHR has also developed a COVID-19 Crisis Response Center with an extensive state and local resource directory. Resources on this page also include various communication and policy templates and an FAQ section.

ThinkHR has developed an extensive state and local resource directory.

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Business Loans & Relief

Get support and resources to tackle tough financial challenges, retaining employees, and navigate deferred taxes.
Topline, the American Rescue Plan replenishes the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan program with an additional $7.25 billion for small businesses seeking a first- or second-draw loan.
Topline, the American Rescue Plan replenishes the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan program with an additional $7.25 billion for small businesses seeking a first- or second-draw loan.
Eligibility-wise, the PPP remains mostly the same for first-draw loans. Businesses that meet the SBA’s “small business concern” definition, as well as businesses with up to 500 employees, are eligible (subject to affiliation rules).
To qualify for a second-draw loan, a component of the PPP first authorized under the December 2020 Consolidated Appropriations Act, companies must have 300 or fewer employees and provide documentation of a 25% reduction in gross receipts in 2020.
The American Rescue Plan newly authorizes special access to first- or second-draw PPP loans for certain nonprofit organizations and internet-only news and periodical publishers with 500 employees or less per physical location.
We’ve updated the PPP payroll report in Justworks to support new loan applications based on the latest legislative changes. You can learn more in our Help Center article.
The deadline to apply for a first- or second-draw PPP loan remains March 31, 2021.

Check out our blog post covering the American Rescue Plan passed in March 2021.

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Last year, the CARES Act created two main tax relief opportunities for eligible employers: the employer Social Security tax deferral and the Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC).
The Social Security tax deferral ended on December 31, 2020. Employers that took advantage of the deferral throughout 2020 are required to repay the deferred tax amounts, with 50% of the deferred amount due on December 31, 2021, and the remainder due by December 31, 2022.
The American Rescue Plan extends the Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC) through December 31, 2021. Previously, these credits were set to expire on June 30, 2021.
The new law also creates a period of special eligibility for ERTC to expand access to certain types of companies. Starting on July 1, 2021:
  • Small startups (defined as businesses formed after February 15, 2020) can qualify even if they do not meet the normal qualification rules regarding closure and/or decline in gross receipts, subject to certain caps and other restrictions.
  • Severely distressed large employers (defined as having 500+ employees and a decline of over 90% in gross receipts) can qualify for the full scope of the tax credit, including credits for employees who continue to work, which are otherwise reserved for eligible companies with fewer than 500 employees.
  • Also after July 1, 2021, for all businesses, ERTC must be taken against Medicare taxes instead of Social Security.
Otherwise, rules regarding eligibility and maximum benefit amounts remain largely consistent with the updates to ERTC made in the December 2020 Consolidated Appropriations Act.
Back in February, we launched updates in Justworks to the Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC) system for Q1 and Q2 of 2021. Eligible customers can opt in to claim these credits in-app. For more info, you can visit our Help Center article on ERTC. Stay tuned for an update allowing you to opt-in for the Q3 and Q4 credits newly authorized by the ARP.

For more info, you can visit our Help Center article on the Employee Retention Tax Credit.

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Under the CARES Act, the maximum amount you can borrow is 250% of your average monthly “payroll costs” (based on a 12-month look back), not to exceed $10 million.
“Payroll costs” include compensation paid to employees capped at $100,000 per year per individual (prorated over the “covered” period). Compensation above $100,000 per year (prorated over this same period) is excluded for the purposes of making this calculation. 
In addition to compensation, “payroll costs” can be interpreted according to the existing SBA definition. This means that your calculation in applying for a loan amount can also include cash tip equivalents, the cost of health benefits (including premiums), the cost of retirement benefits, the cost of leave (e.g., vacation, family, and sick leave), and the payment of state or local taxes assessed on employee compensation.
Fees: The loans will be issued via the SBA’s network of 7(a) program lenders and will be 100% guaranteed by the SBA. If you have available credit from other sources that does not disqualify you. There are no application fees or closing costs allowed and there is no collateral or personal guarantee required.
Loan terms: The CARES Act set the maximum interest rate lenders can charge at 4% and the maximum loan term at 10 years. However, the Treasury's interim final rules have since set the interest rate at 1% and the term at 2 years for all PPP loans. The first 6 months of payments (principal and interest) are automatically deferred. This deferral period can be extended up to a year.
Second-draw loans: The Consolidated Appropriations Act (CAA) of December 2020 created a new facility for second-draw loans. Certain companies may qualify to receive a second PPP loan with an amount up to 2.5x the monthly payroll costs for most companies (subject to a $2 million cap).
The eligibility requirements for a second draw loan are 1) must have 300 or fewer employees, and 2) can provide documentation of a 25% reduction in gross receipts in 2020.
Additionally, per the CAA, companies that have previously received a PPP loan are no longer precluded from participating in the Employee Retention Tax Credit.

Read more about the PPP in our Help Center article.

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The SBA and U.S. Treasury posted a revised, borrower-friendly Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan forgiveness application implementing the PPP Flexibility Act of 2020, signed into law by President Trump on June 5, 2020.
In addition to revising the full forgiveness application, SBA also published a new EZ version of the forgiveness application that applies to borrowers that:
Are self-employed and have no employees; OR
Did not reduce the salaries or wages of their employees by more than 25%, and did not reduce the number or hours of their employees; OR
Experienced reductions in business activity as a result of health directives related to COVID-19, and did not reduce the salaries or wages of their employees by more than 25%.
The EZ application requires fewer calculations and less documentation for eligible borrowers. Details regarding the applicability of these provisions are available in the instructions to the new EZ application form.
When you're ready to apply for forgiveness of your Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan, you will need to use either the new Form 3508EZ application, if you qualify according to its instructions, or complete the full application, as directed, and submit it to your Lender.
The Cosolidated Appropriations Act (CAA) of 2021, signed into law in December of 2020, clarified that forgiven loans are not taxable income and allows businesses to claim tax deductions on expenses that were covered by forgiveness. The bill also mandated a simplified forgiveness application be created for any loans under $150,000.
Under the CAA, the scope of forgivable costs for any loans not already forgiven have expanded as well.
Forgivable expenses now include: operations expenses such as software, cloud computing, and other human resources and accounting needs; certain property damages costs not covered by insurance; certain pre-existing supplier costs; and PPE and other worker protection expenditures. The CAA further clarifies that additional employer-provided group insurance benefits are included in payroll costs, including group life insurance, disability insurance, vision insurance, and dental insurance.

Read more and apply for PPP loan forgiveness using these official resources.

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Under the CARES Act, all lending institutions are approved by the SBA to issue these loans. As of April 2, 2020, the SBA has issued its interim final rules on the paycheck protection program. 
The SBA has also posted an application form for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans authorized by the CARES Act
When can I apply?  
Starting April 3, 2020, small businesses can apply for and receive loans to cover their payroll and other qualifying expenses.
Who can apply?
The application form indicates that the submission of all requested information is required to make a final determination on eligibility for financial assistance. We've also summarized the key eligibility requirements on our blog. Of course, each situation will be unique and you should ultimately consult the SBA's affiliation rules, as well as your tax professional and legal counsel. 
Where can I apply?
Your completed application form can be submitted to any SBA Participating Lender or FDIC-insured depository institution. You can find a list of the 100 most active SBA 7(a) lenders here. Other regulated lenders will be available to make these loans once they are approved and enrolled in the program. We suggest consulting with your existing bank first to confirm it is participating. Banks may lend to their pre-existing customers before new customers.
We recommend that you also monitor the Treasury Department’s CARES Act website and the SBA's PPP page directly, as they are adding information almost daily.
We built a new report in Justworks that makes it easy for customers to calculate their Average Monthly Payroll (AMP) and verify their loan amount to their lender. You can learn more about it in our help center.

Use this form to apply for the Paycheck Protection Program.

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On March 12, 2020, the Small Business Association (SBA) also announced that it would implement new COVID-19 disaster relief lending.
  • SBA's Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance and can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing.
  • These loans may be more flexible than those issued under CARES Act, such as PPP, and can used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can't be paid because of the disaster's impact. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses without credit available elsewhere; businesses with credit available elsewhere are not eligible. The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75%.
  • SBA offers loans with long-term repayments in order to keep payments affordable, up to a maximum of 30 years. Terms are determined on a case-by-case basis, based upon each borrower's ability to repay.
  • To access these emergency loans, you should contact the SBA disaster assistance customer service center directly. Call 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339) or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.
  • There is an online application portal for EDIL loans here. These are NOT PPP loans.

Read more about SBA's Economic Injury Disaster Loans and how they can help your business.

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State and Municipal Support:
States and cities are rapidly deploying resources and programs to assist businesses and workers impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. Given the rapidly shifting guidance, we recommend that you check local sources for the latest in your state.
In New York City, for example, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the City will provide relief for small businesses across the City seeing a reduction in revenue because of COVID-19. You can get the latest details about these programs and apply here.

Check local sources for the latest program updates in your state. If your business is based in New York, get the details about the NYS programs and apply here.

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Tough times call for creative solutions. When your business is caught in a difficult staffing situation, what are your options? If you need guidance, reach out to your account manager and schedule time with one of our HR experts. On our blog, we’ve also explored different considerations employers should take into account.
For workers facing layoffs, furlough, or reduced hours as a result of COVID-19, we have assembled a hub of resources here.

COVID-19 has caused many business owners to face difficult decisions when it comes to staffing. In this post, we hope to help you understand some of your options.

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Filing for unemployment has become increasingly more common due to COVID-19. It’s important to act fast, and we've outlined the process on our blog.
In light of COVID-19, a new federal law was passed allowing states to extend unemployment benefits to self-employed and gig workers, and to provide extra "top-up" payments. Some states have also waived their unemployment insurance program’s mandatory waiting period and relaxed some of the eligibility requirements.
Unemployment eligibility varies by state, however, the general requirements include: being out of work through no fault of your own (not terminated “for cause”), being able to work, and meeting your state’s requirements for minimum earnings or length of time worked.
To file for unemployment, former employees will need to file a claim with the unemployment insurance program of the state worked in at the time of termination. Generally, the state will request information including the dates and location of employment. It can typically take 2-3 weeks from the time of filing to receive your first unemployment check.
Visit the Department of Labor's Unemployment Benefits Finder for more information, and to find links for your state's unemployment program.

Visit the Department of Labor's Unemployment Benefits Finder for more information, and to find links for your state's unemployment program.

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Many of the government relief programs put in place for small businesses are also accessible to small non-profit organizations. For additional specifics, we suggest consulting the National Council of Non-profits' guide to COVID-19.

Get the National Council of Nonprofit's resources that nonprofits can use to respond to COVID-19.

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Paid & Unpaid Leave

Get the latest information COVID-19 paid and unpaid leave requirements, including H.R. 6201.
The American Rescue Plan of March 2021 extends tax credits for paid sick and paid family leave taken for specific COVID-19-related reasons. These credits were first created under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and were set to expire on March 30, 2021. The new law extends FFCRA leave credits for two more quarters until September 30, 2021.
Here are some other changes to FFCRA starting April 1, 2021, to be aware of:
  • FFCRA use caps will reset effective that date
  • Qualifying reasons for leave will expand to cover circumstances related to diagnostic testing and vaccination
  • The aggregate cap on qualified wages will increase from $10,000 to $12,000
  • New FFCRA credits will be taken against Medicare taxes instead of Social Security
Finally, the original mandate requiring employers to pay employees on FFCRA leave expired on December 31, 2020 and was not extended under the December 2020 Consolidated Appropriations Act or the American Rescue Plan. To receive new credits up to the applicable caps, employers can voluntarily continue to pay employees on leave for the specific COVID-19-related reasons covered under FFCRA, as part of their company policy, but are not required to do so.
However, the ARP does add new non-discrimination rules to FFCRA. These provide that no tax credit is available if the employer, in determining the availability of paid leave, discriminates in the provision of paid leave in favor of its highly compensated employees, full-time employees, or employees on the basis of tenure with the employer.
We’ve updated the FFCRA leave tool for Q1 in the COVID-19 Relief Center in Justworks. You can learn more about placing employees on FFCRA leave in our Help Center article. Stay tuned for additional updates allowing you to claim FFCRA credits during Q2 and Q3.

Check the Department of Labor's FAQs on FFCRA to learn more about the most recent changes.

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On March 18, 2020, President Trump signed H.R. 6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). Among other provisions, it contains several paid leave provisions related to the coronavirus pandemic that employers should be aware of. These provisions went into effect on April 1, 2020.
  • It requires employers with fewer than 500 employees provide emergency family and medical leave, or up to 12 weeks (10 of which would be partially paid) of job-protected leave to employees who are unable to work or telework due to their child’s school or daycare closing.
  • It requires those same employers to provide full-time employees with 80 hours of emergency paid sick leave if they are unable to work or telework for specific qualifying reasons related to the coronavirus (with special rules for part-time employees).
  • It provides tax credits for required paid sick leave, paid family and medical leave and certain health plan expenses. The law also permits the Department of Labor to exempt small businesses with 50 or fewer employees if providing paid leave would put them out of business.
  • Our team has broken down H.R. 6201 and its implications in more detail here.
  • The Department of Labor’s (DOL) Wage and Hour Division (WHD) administers and enforces the new law’s paid leave requirements. These provisions will apply from the effective date through December 31, 2020. You should review the DOL’s guidelines for employers and employees, as well as their responses to frequently asked questions. You should also consult IRS guidance regarding the tax credit provisions of FFCRA.  Businesses should also consult their legal advisor if they have questions regarding their obligations under the FFCRA.

Schedule FFCRA leave and claim tax credits within Justworks.

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Yes! In February 2021, we updated our FFCRA leave tool for Q1 in the COVID-19 Relief Center in Justworks.
You can learn more about placing employees on FFCRA leave in our Help Center article. Stay tuned for additional updates allowing you to claim FFCRA credits during Q2 and Q3.

Schedule FFCRA leave and claim tax credits within Justworks.

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The original mandate requiring employers to pay employees on FFCRA leave expired on December 31, 2020 and was not extended under the December 2020 Consolidated Appropriations Act or the American Rescue Plan. To receive new credits up to the applicable caps, employers can voluntarily continue to pay employees on leave for the specific COVID-19-related reasons covered under FFCRA, as part of their company policy, but are not required to do so.
However, the ARP does add new non-discrimination rules to FFCRA. These provide that no tax credit is available if the employer, in determining the availability of paid leave, discriminates in the provision of paid leave in favor of its highly compensated employees, full-time employees, or employees on the basis of tenure with the employer.
Additionally, some states, such as New York, have passed COVID-19-specific paid leave laws. Justworks customers can read more on the New York law here.
Employers should be mindful of existing paid and unpaid leave requirements under federal, state, and local law, and should consult with their attorney about how these laws interact.

Get the details on the New York law guaranteeing job protection and pay for New Yorkers who have been impacted by COVID-19.

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Starting April 1, 2021, the American Rescue Plan provides that qualifying reasons for FFCRA leave will expand to cover circumstances related to diagnostic testing and vaccination.
Otherwise, there are six qualifying reasons for eligible employees to utilize emergency paid sick leave (EPSL), and one qualifying reason for eligible employees to utilize emergency/extended family and medical leave (EFML). Employers can read more about the covered reasons on the federal Department of Labor’s (DOL) employer resource page.
To learn more about the eligibility requirements under the FFCRA and other considerations for employers regarding COVID-19, visit the DOL’s COVID-19 website, which includes FFCRA guidance for employers and employees, and answers to frequently asked questions about the FFCRA. Businesses should also consult their legal advisor if they have questions regarding their obligations under the FFCRA.

Learn more about the covered reasons for leave on the federal Department of Labor’s resource page.

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Yes, any leave taken under the FFCRA for qualifying reasons is subject to pay caps:
  • $511 per day for EPSL taken by an employee for their own care.
  • The lesser of two-thirds the employees normal pay (or minimum wage if more) or $200 per day for EPSL or EFML for an employee taking FFCRA leave to care for another.
Employers can “top up” these amounts and provide additional pay to their employees, but cannot claim tax credits beyond the pay caps under the FFCRA.
The American Rescue Plan of March 2021 will reset FFCRA use caps effective April 1, 2021.

Check out the Department of Labor's FFCRA FAQs to get answers to your COVID-19 paid leave questions.

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Generally, the FFCRA allows covered employers to claim certain employer payroll tax credits to cover wages and certain other expenses paid for leave.
The original mandate requiring employers to pay employees on FFCRA leave expired on December 31, 2020 and was not extended under the December 2020 Consolidated Appropriations Act or the American Rescue Plan.
To receive new credits up to the applicable caps, employers can voluntarily continue to pay employees on leave for the specific COVID-19-related reasons covered under FFCRA, as part of their company policy, but are not required to do so.
Employers can access these tax credits immediately by reducing their payroll tax deposits.
You can learn more about placing employees on FFCRA leave in our Help Center article. Employers should also consider consulting with their tax advisor or attorney.

Learn more about placing employees on FFCRA leave in our Help Center article.

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Each situation is unique and you should ultimately consult legal counsel. Here are several factors to keep in mind:
  • Employers should allow employees to utilize sick leave, per their company policy and applicable federal, state, or local law.
  • Where employees do not qualify to use sick leave, employers may want to consider, where feasible, providing employees with more flexibility in using their own judgement to work from home.
  • Employees may be entitled to take time off under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) or other similar state/local laws to attend to a) their own serious health condition or b) a family member’s serious health condition. (Note: Simply contracting the virus may not necessarily be a serious health condition.)
  • Employees with pre-existing health conditions that put them at heightened risk for contracting COVID-19 may need to be provided with accommodations (like time off, or remote work arrangements) if and when the disease poses a high risk of transmission in your area.
  • Employees may not be required to be paid if taking a leave of absence, and you should refer to your internal policies and legal counsel on how you should approach this.
States and cities are rapidly deploying resources and programs to assist businesses and workers impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. Given the rapidly shifting guidance, we recommend that you check local sources for the latest in your state.
In New York, for example, the state has enacted new protections, effective immediately, for workers who have been quarantined as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, including job protection, paid and unpaid leave, and extensions of the state’s disability insurance and paid family leave programs. Justworks customers can read more on the New York law here.
Other states and cities are focusing their efforts in a similar manner and are looking to adjust existing laws or pass new ones, while some jurisdictions have already done so. San Francisco, for example, has, among other changes, extended their paid sick leave ordinance regulations to include additional covered reasons during this time.

Learn about H.R. 6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, and its implications.

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Note: This information is changing rapidly. We will update this page as we learn more.