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. Currently, this page covers:
- January 4, 2021: We will publish information about the newest federal relief package, including the new PPP loan program, when we learn more. Thank you for your patience.
- Executive Order on deferral of payroll taxes (added August 30)
- Families First
- CARES Act
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.
General Information about Federal Programs
- Paycheck Protection Program resources are below, under the CARES Act. Check back for information about the 2021 program.
- Webinar slides (last updated April 9): COVID-19 Federal Programs, Staffing, and Finances Webinar Slides (PDF)
Executive Order Deferring Payroll Taxes
On August 8, an Executive Order was issued that deferred the withholding and payment of the employee portion of Social Security taxes (6.2% of pay) for those earning less than $4,000 per biweekly pay period. The IRS released guidance on August 27. In brief:
- It's optional.
- The payback period is January through April, 2021.
- Responsibility for paying back the deferred taxes appears to rest with the employer.
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
- Families First Fact Sheet (PDF) (UUA Office of Church Staff Finances)
- Guidance on Paid Sick Leave and Expanded Family/Medical Leave (U.S. Department of Labor)
- Families First Q&A (U.S. Department of Labor)
- FAQ on COVID-19-Related Tax Credits through Families First (IRS)
- Families First Employee Rights poster (PDF) (U.S. Department of Labor): Email to staff while your buildings are closed.
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 (PDF).
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 (PDF) 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 (PDF).)
Further Information on CARES
General CARES Resources
- CARES Fact Sheet (PDF) (UUA Office of Church Staff Finances)
- Summary of CARES Act (PDF) (Church Alliance)
UU Retirement Plan Provisions Related to the CARES Act: Learn about new options regarding distributions and loans, and read a message to Plan participants.
Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Resources
January 4, 2021: We will post information about the new PPP program when available.
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.
Memo on PPP Loan Forgiveness (PDF) (UUA Office of Church Staff Finances).
PPP Flexibility Act Announcement and Information (U.S. Small Business Administration, revised June 12).
PPP Loan Forgiveness Application
PPP Loan Forgiveness Application (PDF) (U.S. Small Business Administration, updated June 16)
SBA Paycheck Protection Program FAQ (PDF) (U.S. Small Business Administration)
Updated PPP FAQ on Loan Forgiveness (PDF) (Updated October 13, SBA/Treasury Dept.)
SBA Faith-Based Organizations FAQ (PDF) (U.S. Small Business Administration)
Nonprofit Special Alert on Paycheck Protection Program Loans (PDF), including process for calculating allowable loan amount (April 3, Batts Morrision Wales and Lee CPAs)
Need a report of contributions remitted for your employees in the UU Retirement Plan? Have your authorized Remitting Admin contact our Plan's TIAA Client Services Manager, Kelli Jackson, UUA@tiaa.org. Please include:
- Name of congregation
- UUA Member Congregation ID (4 digits) (Need your ID? Find a Congregation.)
- Remitting Admin's name, role/title, and best contact information (phone/email)
- If you aren't sure of your Remitting Admin for the UU Retirement Plan, contact Charissa Benak: firstname.lastname@example.org, UUA Retirement Plan Specialist.