Managing FFCRA Compliance in Oregon & Beyond 

In response to COVID-19, Congress has passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Stimulus (CARES) Act to assist businesses and all Americans affected by the pandemic. With the new labor laws in place regarding employee leave and business tax credit availability, it can feel overwhelming to integrate it properly into your payroll system.

The Great Northern Staff Administrators (GNSA) is here for you.  Here's some information you need to work through the new legislation.

Federal Sick Time and Sick Leave

With the Families First FFCRA now in effect, small to mid-size businesses are now required to provide paid sick and family leave to employees affected by COVID-19. The types of leave are as follows:

  • Emergency Family & Medical Leave: Taking a leave because an employee has a need to care for a child whose school or care center has closed due to the outbreak. This is paid at 2/3 of employee regular pay and is eligible for a maximum leave of twelve weeks, expanded an extra ten weeks from the original paid family leave.
  • Emergency Paid Sick Leave – Employee: Taking a leave because the employee has COVID-19 themselves and is seeking proper medical attention. This is paid at the full employee pay and is eligible for maximum leave of two weeks.
  • Emergency Paid Sick Leave – Family: Taking a leave to care for an immediate family member, such as a child, spouse, parent, sibling, and in-law, who has COVID-19. This is paid at 2/3 of employee regular pay and is eligible for a maximum leave of two weeks.

The Department of Labor has created a list of FFCRA frequently asked questions about the requirements of paid sick time and leave. If you need any assistance setting up your payroll for these codes, in your time and labor management system give GNSA a call.

Federal Tax Credits for Paid Sick Time and Leave

With the FFCRA leave requirements and the expanded FMLA & FLSA, qualified employers must update their tax credits. While GNSA is unable to advise whether your company is eligible for the tax credits, we are here to set up the appropriate credits on your payroll. 

According to the FFCRA, the guidelines for employers getting the refundable tax credits are as follows:

  • the employee is under a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19;
  • the employee has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19;
  • the employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis;
  • the employee is caring for an individual who is subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19, or has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19;
  • the employee is caring for the child of such employee if the school or place of care of the child has been closed, or the child care provider of such child is unavailable, due to COVID-19 precautions;
  • the employee is experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Starting April 1st and ending December 31st, 2020, small to mid-sized businesses can earn tax credits for the COVID-19 leave earnings. The IRS has compiled a list of FAQs on how businesses can receive these credits and what that means for their taxes this year.

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How Companies in the Northwest Are Navigating The CARES Act 

The Payroll Protection Program

The Payroll Protection Program (PPP) offered by the CARES Act provides $350 Billion to support small businesses in the first round alone. The PPP provides small businesses with the funds to pay up to eight weeks of payroll costs including benefits and may also be used to pay interest on mortgages, rent and utilities. This loan can be forgivable in its entirety.

At this time, banks have experienced delays in processing applications. While many business owners wait to send their applications in to their financial institution, GNSA recommends gathering the following data to make the process easier. 

  • Ask your loan officer for updates on when to apply for the PPP. Many delays are due to the banks receiving inconsistent information and needing to develop their loan processes for this program.
  • Create payroll reports to calculate the amount to borrow.

Do you need to generates these pieces of information because you're not already an existing payroll customer? Contact GNSA to learn more about your Oregon payroll service options.

Social Security Deferral Under The CARES Act

Section 2302 of the recently passed CARES Act refers to an Employment Payroll Tax Deferral option to help businesses during these challenging times of COVID-19. It is our understanding that this Payroll Tax Deferral is available to all employers with no size restriction. However, if an employer has received Paycheck Protection Program loan forgiveness under Section 1106 of the CARES Act, they are ineligible for this Payroll Tax Deferral.

This part of the legislation allows for a deferral of immediate payment of the Employer side of the Social Security tax on all wages paid through Dec. 31, 2020, with no penalties or interest charges.  Employers must pay 50% of the deferred amount by Dec. 31, 2021 and the other 50% by Dec. 31, 2022.

Here's how GNSA is helping clients, companies throughout the Northwest, with this portion of the CARES Act:

  1. 24 hours before starting to process your payroll, if you plan to opt in for this part of the CARES Act.  We we will configure the necessary tax deferral for social security.
  2. Once this is set up in PeoplePro, the employer Social Security taxes will not be collected as part of funding through GNSA.
  3. You will be able to see that the amount was not collected on the updated Payroll Recap and Funding Report once payroll is processed.

The CARES Act will then require the individual employer to bear the ultimate responsibility to track and pay these deferred taxes by the dates due.

*Please note that GNSA would always recommend consulting your legal counsel to ensure that your company is eligible to opt in to any new legislation.

Oregon Business Resources for COVID-19

Oregon Governor Kate Brown has issued a shelter in place order through Executive Order No. 20-12 until further notice. All residents are to remain at home save for essential travel to essential businesses, such as grocery stores and healthcare visits. 

Businesses are required to have FFCRA posters placed in employee areas, encourage social distancing whenever possible and complete adequate cleaning with the proper cleaning supplies. Business Oregon along with other Oregon agencies has compiled a list of resources for businesses on how they can receive the resources and assistance, including loans covered by the CARES Act.

The governor has ordered the following to assist further:

  • Halting commercial business evictions
  • Business Oregon loan modifications to include a deferral of payments and interest with no fees
  • Forgiveness of specific loans through Business Oregon
  • Insurance coverage measures for business owners, employees, and the unemployed to keep them save during COVID-19
  • Tax relief until July 15th for filling state taxes, in conjunction with the federal deadline 

Specific counties and cities have also opened more loan relief programs to assist Oregon business in COVID-19. Business Oregon has a list of what programs they know of here.

Businesses throughout Oregon and The Northwest: You are Not Alone

GNSA is here to help businesses throughout COVID-19. We have the Northwest and Oregon HR expertise to create help with FFCRA compliance, keep you up to date on the latest COVID-19 news, and answer your payroll and HR questions about it. Give us a call today: (503) 972-0999.


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