New pandemic pay earnings code for employer tax relief

Dear Colleagues,

The government’s Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), recently signed into law, provides some direct financial relief to colleges like ours, including a payroll tax credit for employees who are paid when they are not providing services because of the coronavirus. To file for the tax credit we must account for the time that staff are being compensated for while they are unable to perform their normal duties. We have created a new pandemic pay earnings code called “COVID19 Hours” to capture these hours.

Examples of hours that should be entered as pandemic pay include:

  • Hours for staff who cannot perform any of their jobs duties remotely

  • Hours for staff who cannot perform parts of their jobs duties remotely*

  • Hours for staff who are immune-compromised or immediate family member is, and were previously instructed to use sick time

  • Hours during “off-weeks” of a rotation

  • Hours that staff spent caring for children due to loss of childcare or school closure, and so could not work

  • Hours spent caring for sick family members (COVID-related illnesses only)

*e.g. your standard hours are 40/week, but you have approximately 25 hours of work that can be accomplished from home. Enter a combination of 25 standard hours and 15 hours of pandemic pay. We understand this may vary from week to week.

Staff should continue to enter regular time for work being done remotely and on campus. Please continue to enter sick and vacation time when applicable. If you are unclear about how to report your time, please check with your supervisor.

We have been asked if this process is evidence of planned layoffs. Quite the opposite: tracking pandemic pay earnings is part of a college effort to apply for federal relief funds that will help us minimize program cuts and do as much as we can to preserve jobs. We are asking managers to gather this data retroactively to March 18th and forward for the duration of the Governor’s order, in order to apply for the tax credit portion of the CARES Act. The college will use any funds we receive to alleviate the pandemic’s financial impact on our campus.

We thank you for helping us in this important economic relief effort. Payroll related questions should be directed to Christa Waryas, Payroll Systems Manager and general inquiries can be sent to [email protected].

Danielle Gonzalez
Director of Human Resources

Fred Puddester
Vice President for Finance and Administration and Treasurer