On March 31, 2020, the IRS issued 66 FAQs providing guidance to employers in connection with the payment of, and tax credits for, emergency paid sick leave (E-PSL) and emergency FMLA leave (E-FMLA) under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”). Among other things, the FAQs answered a very important question that the DOL didn’t (instead, in its FAQ 15, the DOL essentially deferred to the IRS). The important question is: what documentation or information can employers require employees to submit to support their request for E-PSL or E-FMLA?
IRS FAQ No. 44 states expressly:
- What information should an Eligible Employer receive from an employee and maintain to substantiate eligibility for the sick leave or family leave credits?
An Eligible Employer will substantiate eligibility for the sick leave or family leave credits if the employer receives a written request for such leave from the employee in which the employee provides:
- 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.
In the case of a leave request based on a quarantine order or self-quarantine advice, the statement from the employee should include the name of the governmental entity ordering quarantine or the name of the health care professional advising self-quarantine, and, if the person subject to quarantine or advised to self-quarantine is not the employee, that person’s name and relation to the employee.
In the case of a leave request based on a school closing or child care provider unavailability, the statement from the employee should include 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, and 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 fourteen during daylight hours, a statement that special circumstances exist requiring the employee to provide care.
The IRS FAQs provide other useful information about determining the amount of the tax credit for qualified sick leave wages; determining the amount of allocable qualified health plan expenses; how to claim the credits; periods of time for which credits are available; and more. You can read the full IRS FAQs here.