Question:

Are employees required to provide documentation in support of leave taken under the FFCRA?

Answer:

If you intend to claim a tax credit under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) for your payment of the sick leave or expanded family and medical leave wages, you should retain appropriate documentation in your records.

A written request for leave from the employee should include the following (and you can’t require that it include more):

  • The employee’s name;
  • The date or dates for which leave is requested;
  • A statement of the COVID-19 related reason the employee is requesting leave and written support for such reason; and
  • A statement that the employee is unable to work, including by means of telework, for such reason.

In the case of a leave request based on a quarantine order or self-quarantine advice, the statement from the employee should include the name of the governmental entity ordering quarantine or the name of the health care professional advising self-quarantine and, if the person subject to quarantine or advised to self-quarantine is not the employee, that person’s name and relation to the employee.

For a leave request based on a school closing or child care provider unavailability, the statement from the employee should include the name and age of the child (or children) to be cared for, the name of the school that has closed or place of care that is unavailable, and a statement that no other person will be providing care for the child during the period for which the employee is receiving family medical leave. If the employee’s child is older than 14, the employee should also state that special circumstances exist requiring the employee to provide care.

It’s worth noting that the FFCRA makes expanded Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave available to an employee who is “unable to work (or telework) due to a need for leave to care for the son or daughter if the school or place of care has been closed, or the child care provider of such son or daughter is unavailable, due to a public health emergency.” In the case of a child over the age of 14, to claim the tax credit, the IRS is asking that employers collect a statement from the employee noting that a special circumstance exists requiring them to provide care. For questions about tax credit documentation, we recommend consulting with a qualified tax professional.