For Employers and Employees: Federal Policies and Actions Related to COVID-19
Federal Policies and Actions Related to COVID-19
U.S. Capitol Building

The federal government is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic with a number of efforts that have an impact on employees and their employers. We are providing summaries and links to further information here. We will add to this page as new government initiatives are introduced and further information becomes available.

Be sure to see our general Congregations as Employers During the COVID-19 Pandemic page, with information about paying staff, benefits, working from home, supervision, and more.

Recent Information about Federal Programs

  • Paycheck Protection Program resources are below, under the CARES Act, including a general FAQ and a faith-based FAQ from the Small Business Administration.
  • The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Flexibility Act passed in early June, making it easier for congregations to get their PPP loans forgiven.
  • Update on PPP Loans and Other Federal Program Reminders (posted April 22): OCSF Legislative Update. We anticipate posting an "updated update" on federal programs in mid-June.
  • Webinar slides (last updated April 9): COVID-19 Federal Programs, Staffing, and Finances Webinar Slides (PDF)

Families First Coronavirus Response Act (Public Law 116-127)

The Families First Act was signed into law on March 18, 2020.  This new law requires employers to provide:

  • 80 additional hours of paid sick leave to full-time employees (pro-rate for part-time) to employees affected by COVID-19 including those caring for a child whose school or childcare program has closed due to the pandemic;
  • Up to 12 weeks of paid Family and Medical Leave to employees who are unable to work due to school or childcare program closures.
  • Families First provides employers with a 100% refundable payroll tax credit to the wages paid for either paid sick leave or paid family and medical leave under this law.

Further Information on Families First

Coronavirus Aid, Response, and Economic Security Act (CARES)

Congregations can apply for Paycheck Protection Program loans and Economic Injury Loan and Grant Programs regardless of whether they have their own 501(c)(3) determination letter. See the Guide for Small Businesses and the SBA Faith-based FAQ below, as well as these slides from webinars presented by Rev. Richard Nugent.

The Cares Act was signed into law on March 27, 2020.  This Act is a comprehensive economic stimulus package which numerous subsections.  The OCSF/UUA CARES Fact Sheet addresses:

  • The expansion of Unemployment Insurance to individuals traditionally not eligible for unemployment assistance, including congregational staff;
  • Refundable payroll tax credits for retaining employees;
  • Loans to employers to support retaining staff and other expenses during this pandemic; and
  • Retirement plan changes including waiving of the 10% tax penalty for early distributions, expanded loan benefits, waiver of Required Minimum Distributions during 2020. (The UUA Retirement Committee has opted to authorize participants to take advantage of these provisions. See TIAA and CARES Act.)

Further Information on CARES

General CARES Resources

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Resources

Did your congregation apply for a Paycheck Protection Program loan? Or choose not to? We are interested in learning about congregations' experiences. Please complete our survey.

About the Authors

  • Serving as OCSF Director since 2008, Richard previously served 11 years in parish ministry. Before ministry, Richard worked 22 years as a congressional staffer, health policy/disability advocate, and political consultant and 2 years as administrator for a health policy project in Jakarta, Indonesia.
  • Jan is passionate about helping congregations live out their values within their walls! Her work is inspired by the mission of the UUA Office of Church Staff Finances: Guided by the values of our faith, we equip congregations for excellence as employers and their staff for financial competence and...

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