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March 23, 2020
FMLA Updates from our CEO
I know collectively we are all fried. Our team was going to take this weekend off and not send an update on numbers - we all know what they look like - but after reading more on the new FMLA Act I thought it was worth sharing quickly.
Caveat – I am *not* a labor lawyer nor an HR expert – I am just trying to get through this like the rest of us.
I know from talking to many of you that you are in my shoes exactly – at my restaurants I have been forced to let go of all hourly team members for now, and I have a small number of salaried managers that have been with us forever that I am desperately trying to keep on payroll. This is where the FMLA Act gets interesting and Uncle Sam may actually be able to help quickly.
My read is that as of April 2nd, anyone left on your team that has a child unable to go to school (or other childcare is closed) will qualify for the new definition of FMLA. In the past FMLA basically meant you give people unpaid time off and hold the job, but after April 2nd it means the government will pay 66% of their salaries (up to $1k/week for 10 weeks – equivalent of 66% of $78k/salary).
This is not an “apply for a loan and keep hitting reload while the f’***ing SBA website won’t reload” kind of thing (sorry a bit frustrated by that) – this is an immediate negative payroll tax so you get the money very quickly. You can even still pay them 100%, and get 66% credited back!
If this is what it looks to be, it will be very, very useful for my six people left on salary. I wanted to pass along as soon as possible in the hopes it is for some of you as well.
Also, our payroll provider at MarginEdge (Gusto) has been particularly good about feeding these updates to us, so checking with your payroll vendor seems like a good place to start.
The most official/succinct description I have found is here - https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/treasury-irs-and-labor-announce-plan-to-implement-coronavirus-related-paid-leave-for-workers-and-tax-credits-for-small-and-midsize-businesses-to-swiftly-recover-the-cost-of-providing-coronavirus.
If you learn anything about this that is relevant to share please pass along and we will add it to our resource page (https://me.marginedge.com/covid) and daily updates.
If anything comes up over the weekend we will send out another note, otherwise we will send an update with the daily trend data first thing on Monday.
In the meantime be safe!