Legislative updates

WEBINAR
Employment Compliance Considerations for
Re-opening the Workplace
May 7, 2020

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Comprehensive summary of federal, state and local COVID-19 reopening orders

 

COVID-19 has prompted swift emergency legislation and orders at the federal, state and local levels, many of which have important implications for employers. As an employee benefits and absence management provider, we're taking action to help employers navigate the swell of information in response to COVID-19.



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Take a look at our collection of webinars and whitepapers related to COVID-19

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Quick access to important topics:

About the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)

On March 18, 2020, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act created new paid leave requirements for employers with fewer than 500 employees, as well as public employers of any size. It is important to note that these federal leave requirements must have been implemented by April 1, 2020, and will sunset on December 31, 2020.

  • Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA) for the employee’s own condition and for certain caregiving reasons:
    • Employers with fewer than 500 lives and certain public employers of any size must provide all full-time employees with 80 hours of paid sick time, and part-time employees with paid sick time equivalent to the average number of hours the employee works over a two-week period.
    • If an employee takes leave for reasons related to their own condition, including being subject to a quarantine or isolation order or experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, they are eligible to receive 100% of their regular rate of pay up to $511 per day ($5,111 in aggregate).
    • If an employee takes leave for certain caregiving reasons, including to care for their child if their school or place of care is closed due to COVID-19 precautions, they are eligible to receive two-thirds of their regular rate of pay up to $200 per day ($2,000 in the aggregate).
    • Employers can receive payroll tax credits to offset the amount of wages paid (subject to the caps) as well as the cost of continuing health insurance coverage during the period of leave.
  • Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLEA) to provide certain COVID-19 related Paid Leave benefits to care for an employee’s child during a school closure:
    • Employers with fewer than 500 employees and certain public employers of any size must provide 12 weeks of FMLA for an employee to care for their child if their school or child care is closed or unavailable due to a public health emergency related to COVID-19.
    • The first two weeks of the emergency FMLA are unpaid (though an employee can use the emergency paid sick leave described above if available) and the remaining ten weeks are paid at two-thirds the employee’s regular rate of pay up to $200 per day ($10,000 in aggregate).
    • Employers are eligible for a payroll tax credit for the wages paid (subject to the caps) and the cost of continuing health insurance during the leave.
  • Employers with fewer than 50 employees can apply for an exemption from both of the above requirements.
Watch our webinars, download slides, and read our resources for detailed information.
About the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, And Economic Security (Cares) Act

On March 27, 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act became the third major piece of legislation passed to address the COVID-19 outbreak. The Act contains more than $2 trillion of spending and has a number of provisions that will impact individuals and businesses.

Items Impacting Individuals:

Paycheck Protection Program (for individuals):

  • Single tax filers will receive up to $1,200. This amount begins to phase out for those with Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) above $75,000 and will phase out entirely at $99,000
  • Married tax filers will receive up to $2,400. This amount begins to phase out for those with AGIs above $150,000 and completely phase out at $198,000M.
  • Individuals and married couples are eligible for $500 payments for each qualifying child 16 years or younger. The AGI phase-outs also apply to the qualifying child payments, meaning those over the thresholds above are not eligible for these payments.

Expanded Unemployment Benefits – Individuals filing for unemployment will be eligible for their states’ unemployment benefits and up to an additional $600 of additional unemployment insurance benefits.

Penalties Waived For Certain Retirement Account Withdrawals – Individuals in need of funds for certain COVID-19 reasons will be able to withdraw funds from their retirement accounts without paying a 10% early withdrawal penalty (state and federal taxes may still apply).

Items Impacting Businesses:

  • Paycheck Protection Program – Loans for employers with fewer than 500 employees.
  • Payroll Tax Deferral—Businesses can delay submitting the employer's share of Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance Tax (Social Security) – which is 6.2% of wages – between March 27, 2020 and December 31, 2020. Half of these payments must be submitted by December 31, 2021 and the remainder by December 31, 2022.
About the Paycheck Protection Program’s loans for employers with fewer than 500 employees (under the CARES Act)

Businesses with under 500 employees, and those businesses designated as small business concerns by the Small Business Association, are eligible for loans of up to 2.5 times their average monthly payroll costs.

These loans can be used to pay for items including wages, mortgage interest, utilities and certain insurance premiums.

Up to 100% of the loan amount can be forgiven based on how the loan is used, how many employees are retained, and what percentage of employees’ wages are paid.

The application for the loan (along with information on the Economic Injury Disaster Loan advance of up to $10,000) can be found here.

Watch our recording, download slides, and read our whitepaper for detailed information

About the Main Street Lending Program for mid-size companies

The Federal Reserve has announced The Main Street Lending Program for mid-size companies in an effort to provide businesses with economic support. Under the new program, businesses will be eligible for one of three new loans: a Main Street New Loan, a Main Street Priority Loans, or a Main Street Expanded Loans. While the final regulations governing the Main Street Lending Program have not yet been released as of this writing, a number of terms and conditions have been approved by the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors. Read our whitepaper.


New York

Sun Life resources and New York state guidance.                                                      

New Jersey

Read our overview. Read the state’s resource for COVID-19 scenarios and benefits payable.

Other states




Answers to top questions

I am an existing Sun Life Absence Management Services Client. How will Sun Life incorporate the new laws?

We have information to share with you about our response to the new Federal Emergency Paid COVID-19 Leave law. Please read here to learn how we’ve incorporated new federal emergency FMLA and the emergency paid sick leave into our processes as additional covered leaves; expanded administration to include eligibility verification, tracking and reporting; and, as a special accommodation for the current COVID-19 crisis, adapted our systems to track and help you administer the federal COVID-19 paid sick leave requirements which run concurrently with the newly expanded FMLA, if applicable.

Are my employees eligible for the New York COVID-19 Quarantine Order PFL and DBL benefits?

If Sun Life administers your New York DBL/PFL benefits, and your business has fewer than 100 employees in total (nationally, by FEIN), your employees who cannot work due to an individualized quarantine order may be eligible for the New York DBL/PFL Quarantine Order benefits after having used their paid sick days under the new law. Furthermore, for employers of all sizes, employees who cannot work due to their minor child being under an individualized quarantine order may be eligible for the New York PFL Quarantine Order benefits.

If you have questions or think your employees may qualify for benefits, call Client Services Support at 800-247-6875, Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET. (Employees can call Member Services at the same number.) Our team can talk with you or your employees and can provide the appropriate claim forms.

Learn more by visiting sunlife.com/nypfl.

Are my employees eligible for the New Jersey COVID-19 TDI benefits?

If you have coverage with us and your employees have individualized circumstances in which their health or the health of a family member necessitates quarantine or isolation and the individual cannot work, he or she may be eligible for benefits.

If you have questions or think your employees may qualify for benefits, call Client Services Support at 800-247-6875, Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET. (Employees can call Member Services at the same number.) Our team can talk with you or your employees and can provide the appropriate claim forms.

Read our overview of the law.

Read the state’s resource for COVID-19 scenarios and benefits payable.

Does COVID-19 qualify a person for FMLA?

Employees may be eligible for a leave under the FMLA for their own serious health condition or to care for a family member with a serious health condition. If you use Sun Life as your absence management administrator, we have adapted our systems and processes to address FMLA leaves related to COVID-19.  Read and watch our resources to understand FMLA applicability, and bear in mind that there may be other federal, state or local laws that apply.

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This content is not to be considered legal advice. We recommend Clients speak with legal counsel specializing in labor and employment law to ensure your organization meets requirements

Group insurance policies are underwritten by Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada (Wellesley Hills, MA) in all states, except New York. In New York, group insurance policies are underwritten by Sun Life and Health Insurance Company (U.S.) (Lansing, MI). Product offerings may not be available in all states and may vary depending on state laws and regulations. Sun Life reserves the right to discontinue any service that is not insurance at any time. All products, brands, and names are the property of their respective owners.

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