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What information may you ask of employees to support FFCRA leave?

Employers may ask for a collection of information from employees to help them substantiate leave under the FFCRA.

Posted April 2, 2020

On April 1, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) provided a plethora of questions and answers regarding the tax credit employers may seek if they are to provide paid leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The information also included what employees are to provide so you can substantiate paid sick leave or family leave credits.

According to the IRS, you may require that employees provide the following in support of sick leave or family leave:

  • The employee’s name;
  • The date or dates for which leave is requested;
  • A statement of the COVID-19 related reason the employee is requesting leave and written support for such reason; and
  • A statement that the employee is unable to work, including by means of telework, for such reason.

If the leave involves a quarantine, you may require the employee provide the following:

  • The name of the governmental entity ordering the quarantine or the name of the healthcare professional advising self-quarantine, and
  • If the person subject to or advised to quarantine is not the employee, that person’s name and relation to the employee.

If the leave is based on a school closing or childcare provider unavailability, you may request the following from the employee:

  • The name and age of the child (or children) to be cared for;
  • The name of the school that has closed or place of care that is unavailable;
  • A representation that no other person will be providing care for the child during the period for which the employee is receiving family medical leave; and
  • With respect to the employee’s inability to work or telework because of a need to provide care for a child older than 14 during daylight hours, a statement that special circumstances exist requiring the employee to provide care.

Based on the third bullet, no one else is to be available to provide childcare. Therefore, if an employee with a child is working from home, for example, but has a spouse who is there and can care for the child, the employee would not be eligible for the leave.

You may substantiate eligibility for the sick leave or family leave credits if, in addition to the information above, you create and maintain records that include the following information:

  • Documentation to show how you determined the amount of qualified sick and family leave wages paid to employees who are eligible for the credit, including records of work, telework, and qualified sick leave and qualified family leave.
  • Documentation to show how you determined the amount of qualified health plan expenses you allocated to wages.
  • Copies of any completed Forms 7200, Advance of Employer Credits Due To COVID-19, that you submitted to the IRS.
  • Copies of the completed Forms 941, Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Return, that you submitted to the IRS (or, if you use third party payers to meet your employment tax obligations, records of information provided to the third party payer regarding your entitlement to the credit claimed on Form 941).

Such records need to be kept for at least four years.

While it would have been nice to get this information days ago, having it going forward can go a long way for employers. The IRS did not come up with any model forms for this information.

This article was written by Darlene Clabault of J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc.

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