• 04/15/2020 1:36 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    The National Center for Preservation Technology and Training (NCPTT), a part of the National Park Service (NPS), has published a series of videos and a Preservation Practice Brief on COVID-19:

    • COVID-19 Basics: Disinfecting Cultural Resources

      The first video in the series provides basic information about the virus itself and how it is spread. It continues by talking about how long the virus remains on surfaces and what we can do to help deactivate the virus. To disinfect cultural resources, our emphasis is on isolation and allowing the virus to dissipate naturally. Cleaning and disinfection methods are also discussed. 

    • COVID-19 Basics: Personal Protective Equipment 

      The second video in the series addresses the items needed for personal protection. The broadcast addresses risk assessment, protection, use of personal protective equipment, disinfection, homemade masks, and advice on how to help our communities.

    • COVID-19 Basics: Re-Entry to Cultural Sites

      The current and third video in the series focuses on preparing to reenter cultural sites once the pandemic is ending and businesses reopen. This presentation discusses issues associated with re-entry and use of a cultural site and precautions we need to take in order to safeguard ourselves and visitors. The video addresses the following questions: What plans do I need before returning, to work? What needs to be in the plan? What does the re-entry team, do? How do we and preventing recontamination from COVID-19? What do we do the first day back?

    You can access all of the NCPTT resources on their Technical Resources page, and be sure to check out our discussion post on implementing precautions for coronavirus in CRM work settings by Dan Cassedy.

  • 04/14/2020 5:12 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team


    Your Congress in Action is a new series that highlights the Capitol Hill news that affects CRM firms the most. This information is sourced from the Coalition for American Heritage, news articles, and more. Be sure to subscribe to the ACRAsphere to ensure you don't miss an update.

    • The roll out of the CARES Act assistance to small businesses was rocky. There have been complaints about small businesses having difficulty accessing the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds and banks that weren’t ready to accept applications. The program was funded at $349 billion and is estimated to run out of money by this week.
      • Republicans in Congress want to pass a narrowly-focused bill to add $251 billion to the PPP. Democrats counter that they support additional funds for the PPP, but also want to include additional funds for state and local governments, hospitals, and food stamp recipients. The two sides are at a stalemate. At this time, infrastructure is not included in the negotiations for the next relief package.
    • The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) issued a blanket extension through May 29, 2020 for federal agency use of emergency Section 106 procedures regarding undertakings that respond to emergency and disaster declarations on the outbreak of COVID-19. The extension applies to projects that respond to COVID-19 under the national emergency declared by President Trump on March 13, 2020, and other COVID-19 emergencies or disaster declarations that have already been issued by the President, a tribal government, or the governor of a state, or may be issued by any of them while the extension is in place.
    • In the CARES Act, the Federal Reserve Bank established a “Main Street facility” to support bank lending to small and mid-sized businesses with up to 10,000 employees. Businesses with existing loans could get the amount of the loan increased. Unlike the PPP loans, a loan obtained through this program would not be forgivable. Participation in the Main Street facility program does not disqualify businesses from using PPP loans as well.

      This program would provide a way for the federal government to quickly provide funds to businesses. However, non-profits are currently ineligible for this assistance. The Federal Reserve is not ruling out assistance to nonprofits in the future, but there is no guarantee that they will be allowed to participate.

      The Federal Reserve is offering an opportunity for stakeholders to provide input about their financing needs during the crisis. Nonprofits and other stakeholders have until Thursday, April 16, to provide input here
    • For the next relief bill that follows the current one in discussion, preservation stakeholders have been considering requests for additional funding for SHPOs, THPOs, and competitive grant programs. The requests would be in addition to the current appropriations. Stakeholders are encouraged to focus on funding for existing programs rather than new programs. Infrastructure appears to be on hold for this bill as well.
    • There has been no additional news regarding CEQ’s proposed revised regulations for NEPA. Some members of Congress have voiced their concern over the revisions. Under the Congressional Review Act, Congress has 60 days to review a new federal regulation issued by a government agency such as CEQ and, by passage of a joint resolution, to overrule the regulation.


  • 04/10/2020 10:59 AM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    We have shared the specifics on the various loan programs created by the coronavirus relief packages, but with their quick implementation, many CRM firms may still have questions. 

    The majority of CRM firms qualify as small businesses, and two programs in particular could help CRM firms feeling the economic effects of the pandemic: the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL).

    We have included a comparison chart of the two programs below to help firms get a better idea of the options available. The chart includes answers to some of the questions we have heard most frequently from CRM firms. 

    ACRA recommends that you be in close contact with your bank at this time. Each bank is requiring different documentation for PPP loans, and your bank can quickly walk you through the process of applying. Your bank can also help you determine which loan is right for you, or recommend if your firm is eligible for both. 

    Paycheck Protection Program Economic Injury Disaster Loans
    Program Basics
    The PPP is a loan that covers payroll expenses and is administered by SBA-approved lenders (banks). While each lender has different application requirements, a PPP loan generally requires less documentation than an EIDL. An EIDL is traditional loan that covers 6 months of operational expenses and is administered directly by the Small Business Administration (SBA). This loan does require the amount of documentation generally associated with traditional loans.
    Are sole proprietors eligible?
    Yes. Yes.
    Who else is eligible?
    Small and medium-sized businesses that were in operation on or before February 15, 2020 with 500 or fewer full- or part-time employees are generally eligible to apply for this loan. Independent contractors do NOT count towards your employee count as they are eligible to apply on their own.

    U.S. businesses, 501(c)(3) nonprofits, tribal businesses, sole proprietors, contractors, ESOPs, small agricultural cooperatives with fewer than 500 employees or meeting current SBA size standards.

    Affiliation rules do apply, which is important when the SBA is determining whether a business's affiliations preclude them from being considered small. Generally, affiliation exists when one business controls or has the power to control another or when a third party (or parties) controls or has the power to control both businesses.

    What can I use this loan for?

    Payroll expenses, including health insurances premiums and costs

    Employee salaries

    Mortgage interest

    Rent and utilities

    Interest on debt incurred before February 15, 2020

    Payroll

    Fixed debts

    Accounts payable

    Other expenses that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact

    How much can I get from this loan?

    2.5 times your monthly payroll costs (up to $10 million).

    The US Chamber of Commerce has a helpful guide to assist you in calculating your average monthly payroll costs as a part of the PPP, including for seasonal employers.

    The maximum loan size is $2 million.

    Applicants who apply for this loan may request an advance of up to $10,000 from the SBA. The advance will be distributed within 3 days. There is no obligation to repay the grant.

    What is the interest rate?
    The SBA has set a fixed 1% annual percentage rate. 3.75% for businesses, 2.75% for non-profits.
    What are the additional loan terms?
    The PPP is a 2-year loan with all payments on the unforgiven portions deferred for the first 6 months. Interest is still accrued during the deferral. An EIDL is a loan for up to 30 years. The first payment is due 1 year after the loan origination date.
    What collateral is required?
    No collateral is required. The SBA will place a UCC lien against the assets of the business.
    Is a personal guarantee required?
    No.

    Yes, for loans greater than $200,000.

    Is this loan eligible for forgiveness?

    Up to 100% of the principal amount and any accrued interest of the loan may be forgiven if you use the proceeds on qualifying expenses.

    The amount forgiven is reduced based on failure to maintain the average number of full-time equivalent employees versus the period from either February 15, 2019, through June 30, 2019, or January 1, 2020, through February 29, 2020, as selected by the borrower.

    The amount forgiven is also reduced to the extent that compensation for any individual making less than $100,000 per year is reduced by more than 25% measured against the most recent full quarter. Reductions in the number of employees or compensation occurring between February 15, 2020, and 30 days after enactment of the CARES Act will generally be ignored to the extent that reductions are reversed by June 30, 2020.

    Only up to 25% of the forgiven loan amount can be for non-payroll costs.

    The loan itself is not eligible for forgiveness.

    However, as mentioned above, $10,000 forgivable grant may be provided in addition to the EIDL to be used for paid sick leave, payroll, increased costs due to interrupted supply chains, rent or mortgage payments, repaying obligations that cannot be met due to revenue losses. For applicants subsequently receiving a PPP loan, PPP forgiveness will be reduced by the amount of this grant. Your loan does not need to be approved in order to receive this grant.

    How do I get forgiveness?

    You must apply through your lender for forgiveness on your loan. In this application, you must include:

    Documentation verifying the number of employees on payroll and pay rates, including IRS payroll tax filings and State income, payroll and unemployment insurance filings;

    Documentation verifying payments on covered mortgage obligations, lease obligations, and utilities;

    Certification from an officer of your business or organization that is authorized to certify that the documentation provided is true and that the amount that is being forgiven was used in accordance with the program’s guidelines for use.Is a personal guarantee required?

    N/A

    Can I apply for both loans?
    Yes. SBA guidance allows you to apply for a PPP loan in addition to an EIDL, so long as you don't use the funds from each loan for the same expenses. For example, if you decide to apply for a PPP loan and use those funds strictly for payroll, you can not subsequently use funds from an EIDL for payroll, as well.
    How can I apply?
    You must apply for this loan through your existing bank. Banks began accepting applications for businesses and sole proprietorships on April 3, and independent contractors and self-employed individuals can begin submitting applications on April 10. NOTE: most banks are requiring those applying for loans to be existing customers. You can apply directly with the SBA now at https://covid19relief.sba.gov/.

  • 04/09/2020 5:16 PM | Dan Cassedy

    I know everyone is scrambling now to try to maintain their business operations while protecting their employees and complying with government directives.  We have all seen various tips and guidelines, but I thought it might be helpful to share the Task Hazard Analysis (THA) that AECOM has put together to provide additional guidance for our employees (see attached document).  This includes a summary of job steps, potential hazards, and possible actions that can be taken to mitigate those hazards.   These include activities such as Driving To and From Job Sites, Working Around Others, Handling Shared Equipment and Tools, Exposure during Lunch and Bathroom Breaks, Exposure at Hotels, etc.

    AECOM has begun to implement this THA and treats it as a living document to be constantly evaluated and refined as our crews make on-site safety observations that are specific to COVID-19.  For example, on a recent architectural history survey, our field team noted that the crew maintained utilization of their own equipment (clipboards, papers, cameras, PPE, etc.), did not share things (everything from pens to the safety/tailgate sign-in sheet), and maintained physical distances.  They also observed that property owners were friendly but are perhaps not as cognizant of safety measures that are being taken in more urban areas, and  daily tailgates meetings were conducted from individually driven cars parked about 15-20 feet away from each other.

    The ACRA Health & Safety committee would love to hear feedback from others who are also in the front lines of trying to make all this work. How has your firm implemented additional health & safety guidelines? Let us know in the comments below!

  • 04/08/2020 2:11 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team


    Join us for another FREE members-only virtual happy hour on Monday, April 13 at 5:00 pm EDT.

    All employees of ACRA member firms, from field technicians to owners, are welcome to grab a drink of their choice and join ACRA President Nathan Boyless and Executive Director Amanda Stratton online. We can talk about the industry response to COVID-19, get ideas from your peers about continuing to operate in the current climate, or even just vent about the challenges you have experienced. Simply sign up here and we will send you a link to join!


  • 04/07/2020 2:57 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    Many CRM firms are classified as essential employees, and thus are still working during the current pandemic. Continuing to operate requires additional health and safety measures, which can come with significantly increased costs. ACRA has a way to help firms owners and employees lessen those costs!

    The ACRA Savings Marketplace can help both owners and employees save money during this time. The heightened health and safety measures may require booking additional hotel rooms or car rentals - the Marketplace provides significant discounts on these. It even has a new section with discounts on all items needed to work from home.

    All employees can use this for personal savings as well. As even shopping for essentials has moved primarily online in recent weeks, the deals in the Marketplace have increased significantly. Many of these discounts are with sites and programs you are already shopping: Amazon, Instacart, CVS, and Target are some of the major brands participating. There are even discounts on distance learning such as ABCMouse.com!

    Your firms's ACRA membership can help you save money both personally and professionally - be sure to let your employees know about the ACRA Savings MarketplaceAll employees of ACRA member firms - including operational staff like accounting and HR - are eligible to access this resource. 

  • 04/02/2020 2:11 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    Heritage Business International, L3C (HBI) has released the results of its U.S. CRM Office Managers’ Sentiment Survey for the first quarter of 2020:

    Each quarter, the survey asks office managers of companies providing heritage compliance services if their invoices will be less, the same, or more in the next quarter, in six months, and in a year. An index of 50 is the same, greater than 50 is growth, and less than 50 is contraction.

    At the U.S. national level, the next-quarter index is 25.7.

    At the U.S. national level, the six-month index is 32.6.

    At the U.S. national level, the one-year index is 37.5.

    “These are the first data on the pandemic impact to the heritage compliance sector. Office managers believe there will be a significant contraction in invoice totals, not just for the next quarter, but over the next year” said Christopher Dore, Ph.D., a consultant and the survey manager at HBI.

    Because of the pandemic, HBI is making the report available for free by using checkout code crmdata4u. The full survey report that includes trends, regional data, historical data, and some state data can be downloaded here.

  • 04/02/2020 12:08 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    UPDATE: The ACHP has issued a blanket extension through May 29, 2020, for federal agency use of emergency Section 106 procedures regarding undertakings that respond to emergency and disaster declarations on the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID -19). More on this here.

    The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) has granted the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) an extension of emergency section 106 procedures for undertakings responding to coronavirus outbreak. From the press release:

    The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation granted the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) its request to extend the time period when it can use the emergency provisions of Section 106 for the review of projects that are a direct response to emergency and disaster declarations on the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Unless extended, such emergency provisions are applicable only within 30 days of an emergency or disaster declaration. This extension adds six weeks to that period.

    “It is vital for the ACHP to work with its federal partners, using the emergency provisions for National Historic Preservation Act reviews, to help protect the welfare of the public,” ACHP Chairman Aimee Jorjani said. “We invite all federal agencies to contact us with questions and allow us to assist them in achieving their objectives during this difficult time.”

    The ACHP granted the extension under 36 C.F.R. § 800.12 of the regulations implementing Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act through May 29, 2020, for projects that respond to COVID-19 under the national emergency declared by President Trump on March 13, 2020; major disasters declared by President Trump for states; and other COVID-19 emergencies or disaster declarations that have already been issued by the President, a tribal government, or the governor of a state, or may be issued by any of them while the extension is in place.

    The extension applies to Responsible Entities, state and local governments that assume authority for environmental reviews under HUD regulations and HUD program offices that conduct environmental reviews. Under many HUD programs, federal environmental and historic preservation responsibilities are delegated to such state and local governments. Responsible Entities include state or local government entities that receive funds from various HUD programs such as the Community Development Block Grants. As one of HUD’s longest-running programs, it provides funds for local community development activities related to affordable housing, anti-poverty programs, and infrastructure development.

    The Section 106 emergency procedures may only be used for projects that respond to COVID-19 emergencies or disaster declarations. Such projects may include establishment of testing centers, conversion of existing facilities to treatment and quarantine facilities, and acquisition of buildings that could be adapted for group living.

    The release also notes that HUD may approach the ACHP for further extensions as needed. The letter from ACHP to HUD Deputy Assistant Secretary John Bravacos is available here.

  • 04/01/2020 2:50 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    The Paycheck Protection Program, established as a part of the CARES Act, provides 8 weeks of cash-flow assistance through 100 percent federally guaranteed loans to small employers who maintain their payroll during this emergency. If the employer maintains payroll, the portion of the loans used for covered payroll costs, interest on mortgage obligations, rent, and utilities would be forgiven. It is retroactive to February 15, 2020 to help bring workers who have been laid off already back onto payrolls. 501c3 non-profits are also eligible for this program.

    Guidance on the program has just been released, which we have included below (it can also be downloaded as a separate document here). A draft application is available here. Banks will start accepting applications this Friday, April 3. If your firm is interested in participating in this program, you should have your application ready for submission on Friday morning as it has been suggested that the $349 billion allocated will likely not be enough for all interested businesses. You can access more information at https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/paycheck-protection-program-ppp.

    Paycheck Protection Program Guidance

    PAYCHECK PROTECTION PROGRAM (PPP) INFORMATION SHEET:
    BORROWERS

    The Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) authorizes up to $349 billion in forgivable loans to small businesses to pay their employees during the COVID-19 crisis. All loan terms will be the same for everyone.

    The loan amounts will be forgiven as long as:

    • The loan proceeds are used to cover payroll costs, and most mortgage interest, rent, and utility costs over the 8 week period after the loan is made; and
    • Employee and compensation levels are maintained.

    Payroll costs are capped at $100,000 on an annualized basis for each employee. Due to likely high subscription, it is anticipated that not more than 25% of the forgiven amount may be for non-payroll costs.

    Loan payments will be deferred for 6 months.

    When can I apply?

    • Starting April 3, 2020, small businesses and sole proprietorships can apply for and receive loans to cover their payroll and other certain expenses through existing SBA lenders.
    • Starting April 10, 2020, independent contractors and self-employed individuals can apply for and receive loans to cover their payroll and other certain expenses through existing SBA lenders.
    • Other regulated lenders will be available to make these loans as soon as they are approved and enrolled in the program.

    Where can I apply? You can apply through any existing SBA lender or through any federally insured depository institution, federally insured credit union, and Farm Credit System institution that is participating. Other regulated lenders will be available to make these loans once they are approved and enrolled in the program. You should consult with your local lender as to whether it is participating. Visit www.sba.gov for a list of SBA lenders.

    Who can apply? All businesses – including nonprofits, veterans organizations, Tribal business concerns, sole proprietorships, self-employed individuals, and independent contractors – with 500 or fewer employees can apply. Businesses in certain industries can have more than 500 employees if they meet applicable SBA employee-based size standards for those industries.

    For this program, the SBA’s affiliation standards are waived for small businesses (1) in the hotel and food services industries; or (2) that are franchises in the SBA’s Franchise Directory; or (3) that receive financial assistance from small business investment companies licensed by the SBA. Additional guidance may be released as appropriate.

    What do I need to apply? You will need to complete the Paycheck Protection Program loan application and submit the application with the required documentation to an approved lender that is available to process your application by June 30, 2020. Click HERE for the application.

    What other documents will I need to include in my application? You will need to provide your lender with payroll documentation.

    Do I need to first look for other funds before applying to this program? No. We are waiving the usual SBA requirement that you try to obtain some or all of the loan funds from other sources (i.e., we are waiving the Credit Elsewhere requirement).

    How long will this program last? Although the program is open until June 30, 2020, we encourage you to apply as quickly as you can because there is a funding cap and lenders need time to process your loan.

    How many loans can I take out under this program? Only one.

    What can I use these loans for? You should use the proceeds from these loans on your:

    • Payroll costs, including benefits;
    • Interest on mortgage obligations, incurred before February 15, 2020;
    • Rent, under lease agreements in force before February 15, 2020; and
    • Utilities, for which service began before February 15, 2020.

    What counts as payroll costs? Payroll costs include:

    • Salary, wages, commissions, or tips (capped at $100,000 on an annualized basis for each employee);
    • Employee benefits including costs for vacation, parental, family, medical, or sick leave; allowance for separation or dismissal; payments required for the provisions of group health care benefits including insurance premiums; and payment of any retirement benefit;
    • State and local taxes assessed on compensation; and
    • For a sole proprietor or independent contractor: wages, commissions, income, or net earnings from self-employment, capped at $100,000 on an annualized basis for each employee.

    How large can my loan be? Loans can be for up to two months of your average monthly payroll costs from the last year plus an additional 25% of that amount. That amount is subject to a $10 million cap. If you are a seasonal or new business, you will use different applicable time periods for your calculation. Payroll costs will be capped at $100,000 annualized for each employee.

    How much of my loan will be forgiven? You will owe money when your loan is due if you use the loan amount for anything other than payroll costs, mortgage interest, rent, and utilities payments over the 8 weeks after getting the loan. Due to likely high subscription, it is anticipated that not more than 25% of the forgiven amount may be for non-payroll costs.

    You will also owe money if you do not maintain your staff and payroll.

    • Number of Staff: Your loan forgiveness will be reduced if you decrease your full-time employee headcount.
    • Level of Payroll: Your loan forgiveness will also be reduced if you decrease salaries and wages by more than 25% for any employee that made less than $100,000 annualized in 2019.
    • Re-Hiring: You have until June 30, 2020 to restore your full-time employment and salary levels for any changes made between February 15, 2020 and April 26, 2020.

    How can I request loan forgiveness? You can submit a request to the lender that is servicing the loan. The request will include documents that verify the number of full-time equivalent employees and pay rates, as well as the payments on eligible mortgage, lease, and utility obligations. You must certify that the documents are true and that you used the forgiveness amount to keep employees and make eligible mortgage interest, rent, and utility payments. The lender must make a decision on the forgiveness within 60 days.

    What is my interest rate? 0.50% fixed rate.

    When do I need to start paying interest on my loan? All payments are deferred for 6 months; however, interest will continue to accrue over this period.

    When is my loan due? In 2 years.

    Can I pay my loan earlier than 2 years? Yes. There are no prepayment penalties or fees.

    Do I need to pledge any collateral for these loans? No. No collateral is required.

    Do I need to personally guarantee this loan? No. There is no personal guarantee requirement. ***However, if the proceeds are used for fraudulent purposes, the U.S. government will pursue criminal charges against you.***

    What do I need to certify? As part of your application, you need to certify in good faith that:

    • Current economic uncertainty makes the loan necessary to support your ongoing operations.
    • The funds will be used to retain workers and maintain payroll or to make mortgage, lease, and utility payments.
    • You have not and will not receive another loan under this program.
    • You will provide to the lender documentation that verifies the number of full-time equivalent employees on payroll and the dollar amounts of payroll costs, covered mortgage interest payments, covered rent payments, and covered utilities for the eight weeks after getting this loan.
    • Loan forgiveness will be provided for the sum of documented payroll costs, covered mortgage interest payments, covered rent payments, and covered utilities. Due to likely high subscription, it is anticipated that not more than 25% of the forgiven amount may be for non-payroll costs.
    • All the information you provided in your application and in all supporting documents and forms is true and accurate. Knowingly making a false statement to get a loan under this program is punishable by law.
    • You acknowledge that the lender will calculate the eligible loan amount using the tax documents you submitted. You affirm that the tax documents are identical to those you submitted to the IRS. And you also understand, acknowledge, and agree that the lender can share the tax information with the SBA’s authorized representatives, including authorized representatives of the SBA Office of Inspector General, for the purpose of compliance with SBA Loan Program Requirements and all SBA reviews.




  • 03/31/2020 4:42 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    As the situation surrounding COVID-19 continues to evolve, ACRA is committed to supporting its member firms through our programs and information distribution. Please continue to visit the ACRAsphere and ACRA on Facebook and LinkedIn for the latest on the industry and resources for your firm.

    Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has issued a constituent services resource toolkit that efficiently lays out the programs created in the three relief/stimulus pieces of legislation that have passed thus far:

    • The Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act
    • The Families First Coronavirus Response Act
    • The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act

    While the toolkit summarizes all of the aspects of the programs, including those for individuals, CRM firms will find the sections on emergency paid leave and small businesses particularly helpful. In these sections, you will find fact sheets, guidance, and FAQs on eligibility, requirements, and terms of emergency paid leave, new SBA loans, and the paid sick and family leave tax credit.

    The toolkit also provides information on the programs and services specifically designed for tribal communities in the bills. If you firm works frequently with tribal communities, you can pass this toolkit on for their use.

    Access Speaker Pelosi's Full Toolkit Here

    Additionally, the Department of Labor has published a series of FAQs regarding the paid leave requirements outlined in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. Some of the employer questions/answers in the FAQ include:

    • What is the effective date of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which includes the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act and the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act?

      The FFCRA’s paid leave provisions are effective on April 1, 2020, and apply to leave taken between April 1, 2020, and December 31, 2020.

    • As an employer, how do I know if my business is under the 500-employee threshold and therefore must provide paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave?

      You have fewer than 500 employees if, at the time your employee’s leave is to be taken, you employ fewer than 500 full-time and part-time employees within the United States, which includes any State of the United States, the District of Columbia, or any Territory or possession of the United States. In making this determination, you should include employees on leave; temporary employees who are jointly employed by you and another employer (regardless of whether the jointly-employed employees are maintained on only your or another employer’s payroll); and day laborers supplied by a temporary agency (regardless of whether you are the temporary agency or the client firm if there is a continuing employment relationship). Workers who are independent contractors under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), rather than employees, are not considered employees for purposes of the 500-employee threshold.

      Typically, a corporation (including its separate establishments or divisions) is considered to be a single employer and its employees must each be counted towards the 500-employee threshold. Where a corporation has an ownership interest in another corporation, the two corporations are separate employers unless they are joint employers under the FLSA with respect to certain employees. If two entities are found to be joint employers, all of their common employees must be counted in determining whether paid sick leave must be provided under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act and expanded family and medical leave must be provided under the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act.

      In general, two or more entities are separate employers unless they meet the integrated employer test under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA). If two entities are an integrated employer under the FMLA, then employees of all entities making up the integrated employer will be counted in determining employer coverage for purposes of paid sick leave under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act and expanded family and medical leave under the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act.

    • If providing child care-related paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave at my business with fewer than 50 employees would jeopardize the viability of my business as a going concern, how do I take advantage of the small business exemption?

      To elect this small business exemption, you should document why your business with fewer than 50 employees meets the criteria set forth by the Department, which will be addressed in more detail in forthcoming regulations.

      You should not send any materials to the Department of Labor when seeking a small business exemption for paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave.

    • How do I count hours worked by a part-time employee for purposes of paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave?

      A part-time employee is entitled to leave for his or her average number of work hours in a two-week period. Therefore, you calculate hours of leave based on the number of hours the employee is normally scheduled to work. If the normal hours scheduled are unknown, or if the part-time employee’s schedule varies, you may use a six-month average to calculate the average daily hours. Such a part-time employee may take paid sick leave for this number of hours per day for up to a two-week period, and may take expanded family and medical leave for the same number of hours per day up to ten weeks after that.

      If this calculation cannot be made because the employee has not been employed for at least six months, use the number of hours that you and your employee agreed that the employee would work upon hiring. And if there is no such agreement, you may calculate the appropriate number of hours of leave based on the average hours per day the employee was scheduled to work over the entire term of his or her employment.

    • When calculating pay due to employees, must overtime hours be included?

      Yes. The Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act requires you to pay an employee for hours the employee would have been normally scheduled to work even if that is more than 40 hours in a week.

      However, the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act requires that paid sick leave be paid only up to 80 hours over a two-week period. For example, an employee who is scheduled to work 50 hours a week may take 50 hours of paid sick leave in the first week and 30 hours of paid sick leave in the second week. In any event, the total number of hours paid under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act is capped at 80.

      If the employee’s schedule varies from week to week, please see the answer to Question 5, because the calculation of hours for a full-time employee with a varying schedule is the same as that for a part-time employee.

      Please keep in mind the daily and aggregate caps placed on any pay for paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave as described in the answer to Question 7.

      Please note that pay does not need to include a premium for overtime hours under either the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act or the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act.

    • What records do I need to keep when my employee takes paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave?

      Private sector employers that provide paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave required by the FFCRA are eligible for reimbursement of the costs of that leave through refundable tax credits. If you intend to claim a tax credit under the FFCRA for your payment of the sick leave or expanded family and medical leave wages, you should retain appropriate documentation in your records. You should consult Internal Revenue Service (IRS) applicable forms, instructions, and information for the procedures that must be followed to claim a tax credit, including any needed substantiation to be retained to support the credit. You are not required to provide leave if materials sufficient to support the applicable tax credit have not been provided.

      If one of your employees takes expanded family and medical leave to care for his or her child whose school or place of care is closed, or child care provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19, you may also require your employee to provide you with any additional documentation in support of such leave, to the extent permitted under the certification rules for conventional FMLA leave requests. For example, this could include a notice that has been posted on a government, school, or day care website, or published in a newspaper, or an email from an employee or official of the school, place of care, or child care provider.

    The FAQ also covers questions employees may have, including how sick leave and expanded family and medical leave interact, what records are needed, and how telework factors in.

    Access the Labor FAQ Here





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