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Easily Track FFCRA Hours with Variable Pay Rates

Posted on 10 Jul 2020

We like to talk about buckets around here. No, not the cracked 5-gallon buckets that my parents used as flower pots. Instead, we use buckets to illustrate the power of our Payroll Snapshot to track employee hours with variable pay rates – because as you know, all hours are not created equally. Your service-based business may pay employees a premium for working weekends or if they have to co-work with Bob, well just because it’s Bob. Furthermore, you might pay travel time at a different rate. Some jobs may be extraordinarily difficult and pay a higher rate. Each of the aforementioned situations is a reason to separate hours into different “buckets”. In any given pay period Bob may need to be paid at 2-3 different pay rates. Bless you, if you’re figuring all of that out manually. While the scenarios are endless, Covid-19 has given employers another reason to distinguish the types of employee hours – the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). But don’t sweat it, we’ll explain how you can easily track FFCRA hours with variable pay rates.

Details of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)

First, let’s dive a little deeper into FFCRA. According to the Department of Labor’s website, “The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA or Act) requires certain employers to provide employees with paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19.” The provisions apply to small businesses with less than 500 employees through December 31, 2020 (so most small businesses). Who is entitled to the pay, how much and for how long? The DOL website states,

  • Two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick leave at the employee’s regular rate of pay where the employee is unable to work because the employee is quarantined (pursuant to Federal, State, or local government order or advice of a health care provider), and/or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis; or
  • Two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick leave at two-thirds the employee’s regular rate of pay because the employee is unable to work because of a bona fide need to care for an individual subject to quarantine (pursuant to Federal, State, or local government order or advice of a health care provider), or to care for a child (under 18 years of age) whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19, and/or the employee is experiencing a substantially similar condition as specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the Secretaries of the Treasury and Labor; and
  • Up to an additional 10 weeks of paid expanded family and medical leave at two-thirds the employee’s regular rate of pay where an employee, who has been employed for at least 30 calendar days, is unable to work due to a bona fide need for leave to care for a child whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19.

For more details, please check out that DOL website, but as you can see, the FFCRA creates 3 new buckets for your payroll admin:

  • Covid-19 Employee Sick Paid Leave
  • Covid-19 Family Sick Paid Leave
  • Covid-19 Family Medical Leave Act Expansion Paid Leave

Note that the last two require that eligible employees to be paid at two-thirds of their regular rates.

You need an easy way to track FFCRA hours

Our world is getting too complicated to still use handwritten time cards. Your small business needs a way to easily track FFCRA hours with variable pay rates, such as the Covid-19 hours for tax credit reimbursements. Our Payroll Snapshot allows you to create pay types that can be associated with customers or activities for an easy way of tracking and organizing the hours. Additionally, you can set the pay types as overtime-exempt, such as for the Covid-19 categories or other paid time off matters.

With the hours broken out and reported by pay type, it’s a breeze to pull out qualifying hours to send in for tax credits – and it’s just as simple to process payroll with other scenarios that result in employees having multiple pay rates in the same period. If you’re in California, you could have regular hours, overtime, and double overtime. We can handle it. The Payroll Snapshot is just one of the reasons that our customers save time and money. Put it on your bucket list to simplify your life. We can help.

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