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Emergency paid sick and family leave

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) required certain employers to provide employees with paid sick or family leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19 in 2020.

As of January 1, 2021, employers are no longer required to provide their employees with paid sick or family leave related to COVID-19. However, employers that do pay their employees for emergency time off from Jan 1, 2021 through Sep 30, 2021 will be eligible to take a credit on certain federal payroll taxes. Gusto will apply the applicable tax credits against your eligible federal payroll taxes for emergency time off reported in payroll (through Sep 30, 2021).

If your company wants to continue to pay employees during this time, there are two types of leave:

  • Emergency paid sick leave
    • 80* hours for employees who need to take leave from work for certain specified reasons related to COVID-19, and
  • Emergency family medical leave
    • Up to 10* weeks of paid, and 2 weeks unpaid, emergency family and medical leave to eligible employees if the employee is caring for his or her son or daughter whose school or place of care is closed or whose child care provider is unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19.

*For 2021, these limits don't reset. Employees now have until March 31, 2021 to use their 2020 emergency paid sick or family leave. 

  • [March 2021] Emergency Paid Sick Leave hours will reset effective April 1, 2021.

Read more about FFCRA, your employer responsibilities, and tax credits here. We’ve also created an employer’s guide to navigating coronavirus here.

Reporting paid sick or family medical leave in Gusto

You can capture this leave while running payroll on the Time Off screen. We’ll use the current pay rates in the employees’ Gusto accounts for both salary and hourly employees. 

  • Salaried employees will see their regular hours offset by the number of EPSL/FMLA hours reported. 
  • Hourly employees will be paid the reported  EPSL/FMLA hours in addition to their regular hours. 

Follow these steps: 

  1. Run regular payroll and submit normal hours. 
  2. On the Time Off page, click Enter emergency leave at the top of the screen.
    • There are two dropdown items you can use to learn more about the details and differences between emergency paid leave and family and medical leave of absence. 
  3. Beside an eligible employee’s name, click +Add emergency leave.
  4. Use the dropdowns to:
    • Identify the type of leave (EPSL or FMLA)
    • Identify the reason for leave
    • Add the total hours of leave
    • Add the number of days leave was taken
  5. Once all employees with emergency leave have been reported, click Save and continue running payroll.
  6. You will be brought back to the Time Off page to continue with payroll. When everything is ready to go, click Save & Continue.
  7. Review the details of your payroll and click Submit payroll.

On employee paystubs, reported EPSL/FMLA hours will be itemized as “Emergency sick”or “FMLA Public Health Emergency Leave”. 

For employees making less than minimum wage

Some employees make less than minimum wage because their compensation includes tips or commissions. In order for them to take leave, you’ll need to adjust their primary pay rate to reflect what they’re actually paid. After calculating the primary rate to reflect other compensation such as tips or commissions, you can adjust it by scheduling the primary rate to start on the next pay period, or you can adjust the primary rate in the middle of a pay period.

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