Special Series: The Families First Coronavirus Response Act Leave By Gary Romano Civitas Strategies

On April 1, 2020, one of the elements of the stimulus that came into play was the Families First Coronavirus Response Act Leave. This program has not had much attention paid to it, especially by home-based child care providers, but it does afford an opportunity for you to receive funds that can be very helpful to your organization by supporting you, your employees, and even your contractors.

When the pandemic struck, many small businesses could not afford to provide the additional sick leave that would be needed due to COVID-19 related illness or quarantine. Additionally, many schools closed in reaction to the pandemic, forcing countless parents to stay home with their children and support them with remote schooling. In many cases, these small businesses lacked the reserve funds needed to pay employees whose children were now at home, leaving them unable to return to work but with no income. As such, the Federal Government created the Families First Coronavirus Response Act Leave which provides funds in the form of payroll tax credits to help alleviate the economic impact of needing to provide this leave. 

The new stimulus extends the ability to get funds through the Families First Coronavirus Relief Act Leave. Businesses are no longer required to provide this leave, but can take it voluntarily and receive the tax credits through March 31, 2021. There are two programs through which you can provide this leave: the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA) and the Emergency Family & Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLEA). You can use both if you qualify. 

First, the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA) provides up to 80 hours of sick leave for employees at their regular rate of pay (up to $511 per day with a cap of $5,110 for the whole 80 hours) if the employee is quarantined for potential COVID-19 exposures or has COVID-19 symptoms. Employees can also be paid at two-thirds their regular rate of pay (up to $200 per day with a cap of $2,000) if the employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a diagnosis. This two-thirds rate also applies for employees caring for someone under quarantine or a child (under 18) whose school is closed due to COVID-19. A school closure includes remote learning situations where the child is at home.

The second program, the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLEA) provides up to 12 weeks of expanded family and medical leave with 10 of those weeks paid at two-thirds of the employee’s regular rate of pay (up to $200 per day with a cap of $2,000) if the employee is unable to work (including telework) to care for a child whose school or childcare provider is closed due to COVID-19. Again, the school closure includes remote learning. 

The leave can be used by sole proprietors/owners and their business’s employees. Contractors reported through a 1099 can apply but they need to report their time directly to the federal government as a separate business.

As you can see, the Families First Coronavirus Leave Act provides a great opportunity for small businesses to bolster their ability to provide paid leave. Reimbursements are received through a “refundable tax credit” meaning that the United States Treasury will pay you using money from employment taxes. Detailed information on how to apply for the reimbursement can be found in the Home Grown Stimulus Navigator. You can email us in both English and Spanish with any questions that you have at ppp@civstrat.com.

How La Red Latina de Educación Temprana Supports the Mental Health of Children and Their Caregivers

At the start of the pandemic in 2020, community needs shifted. While the well-being of children remained a priority, the team at La Red saw the impact that COVID-19 was having on the mental health of not only the children but also on their parents and providers.
Mother teaching children at home because the coronavirus - Learning with digital tablet

Stabilizing the Economic Well-Being of Family, Friend Neighbor Providers

FFN care is one of the most used forms of child care for young children and reliance on this care increased during the pandemic. Greater attention to, inclusion of, and support for FFN caregivers is an urgent priority. 
gabe-pierce-mLqWFEtlIEs-unsplash-crop

New Report Provides Data, Illuminates Opportunities and Challenges for Home-based Pre-K Providers

A recently released report from Home Grown and the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) provides critical state and city data on the current integration of Family Child Care (FCC) providers in publicly-funded pre-K. Titled Including Family Child Care in State and City-Funded Pre-K Systems: Opportunities and Challenges, it also examines perceived opportunities and challenges with FCC participation in pre-K. Home Grown believes that Family Child Care providers contribute a vital service, often in under-served communities, and are deserving of the opportunity to access public pre-K funding to further nurture and teach the children in their care.