b'Legally SpeakingTHE CONSOLIDATED APPROPRIATIONS ACTExpenditures for covered worker protection, including ANOTHER COVID-19 RELIEF PACKAGE FOR expenditures made in order to comply with relevant federal, state, and local law regarding health and safety; EMPLOYERS TO FOLLOWand Property damage costs caused by disturbances whichBy Bob Dunlevey and Nadia A.occurred during 2020 and are not otherwise covered by Lamptoninsurance. With the Families First Corona- Eligible businesses may also receive up to 2.5 times theirvirus Response Act expirationaverage monthly payroll costs using either a 12-month look-and other federal coronavirusback period or the year 2019.However, businesses in the relief packages and incentivesrestaurant and hospitality industries are eligible to 3.5 times nearing termination, people andtheir average payroll costs.Loans given this time around will businesses alike have been eagerly awaiting Congress tonot exceed $2 million. extend these expiration dates or offer additional guidance with respect to COVID-19-related issues. In typical last-minuteThe Families First Coronavirus Response Act fashion, Congress passed another stimulus bill providing for a second round of direct payments to individuals, but alsoThe CAA also provides that certain paid leave obligations are addressing several other soon-to-expire programs, incentives,no longer mandatory, but may continue at the employersand tax issues employers should be following. Presidentoption.Specifically, the FFCRA required employers to provide Trump raised several concerns over the bill related to Emergency Paid Sick Leave (E-PSL) and Expanded Family and excessive spending and deficient individual stimulus paymentMedical Leave (E-FMLA) to employees affected by the virus.amounts, but ultimately signed the billH.R. 133, the To recap, an employee qualifies for paid leave under the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (the CAA)into law onFFCRA if the employee is unable to work (or telework) due to a December 27, 2020.Here is what employers need to knowneed for leave because the employee: about the new CAA.is subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or PPP Loansisolation order related to COVID-19; has been advised by a health care provider to self-Under the original Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economicquarantine due to COVID-19; Security Act (the CARES Act), Congress provided forgivableis experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and is seeking aloans administered by the Small Business Administration (SBA)medical diagnosis; under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).The recentis caring for an individual subject to an order described in legislation passed by Congress extends this program, but(1) or self-quarantine as described in (2); makes a few changes.Under the CAA, businesses may beis caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed eligible for a Second Draw PPP loan if the business has (1) 300(or child care provider is unavailable) for reasons related or fewer employees, (2) used or will use the full amountto COVID-19; or provided by its first PPP loan, and (3) shown a 25% gross is experiencing any other substantially-similar condition revenue reduction in any 2020 quarter as compared to thespecified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, same quarter in 2019.If an application is submitted on orin consultation with the Secretaries of Labor and Treasury. after January 1, 2021, the business may use the fourth quarter of 2020 to meet the gross revenue reduction element.The FFCRA expires on December 31, 2020.The CAA does not extend the FFCRAs expiration date, but gives employers the Under the CARES Act, the IRS ruled that employers were notoption to continue to provide E-PSL and E-FMLA in accordance able to deduct certain expenses if paid with PPP loans. But thewith the FFCRA framework.Employers who elect to continue CAA clarifies that employers are permitted to deduct certainproviding this paid leave after December 31, 2020 can claim employment expenses even when they are paid with the PPPthe tax credit until March 31, 2021.Employers should be loan.It also expands qualifying expenses to include the fol- mindful that even if they do not exercise the option tolowing:continue to provide E-PSL or E-FMLA, employers continue to have job restoration, documentation and lengthy recordkeep-Costs to operate software, cloud computing, human ing obligations related to leave requests made prior to the resources, and accounting needs;FFCRAs expiration.Costs paid to suppliers for expenditures essential tobusiness operations; Page 16CONSTRUCTION JOURNAL'