Coronavirus/COVID-19 Response

Possible FEMA Public Assistance Grants Available to Councils

from Whitfield & Eddy Law, May 10, 2021

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recently announced a new Public Assistance Grant Program (“PAGP”). Extension councils may be an eligible applicant for PAGP funds if the council fits into one of FEMA’s applicant eligible categories of the Public Assistance Program and Policy Guide. Whitfield & Eddy has drafted two memos to 1) outline the program and 2) provide an FAQ about eligibility.  

Whitfield & Eddy expects eligibility will vary significantly depending on 1) whether Councils had employees in the office, 2) whether Councils offered services to the public, other than via electronic means (i.e., purchased masks, gloves, sanitizer for public use), 3) whether Councils offered building space for vaccination clinics, COVID-19 tests, etc.  

It is recommended that Councils should

  1. review the example activities outlined in the grant information,
  2. make a list of your Council’s activities that align with those activities and estimate cost(s) associated with those activities,
  3. set up a call with the FEMA Office to determine whether it is worth the Council/FEMA application time.

IECA provides this for informational purposes only. To the best of our knowledge, this information is up to date and accurate as of May 10, 2021. As with any grant or funding program, each interested Council will need to complete an individualized determination of eligibility. IECA does not have an opinion of whether a particular Council is eligible or will receive funding. Councils may reach out to legal or tax counsel for specific guidance.

Updated COVID-19 Paid Leave Resources

from Whitfield & Eddy Law, April 2021

Under the recently enacted American Rescue Plan Act (“ARPA”), Congress revised the FFCRA paid leave/tax credit program. From April 1, 2021 through September 30, 2021, Councils may voluntarily provide paid sick leave to their employees. It appears that Councils will also receive tax credits for FFCRA paid leave wages from April 1 through September 30, 2021. If the Council chooses to provide this leave, the Council cannot discriminate among employees who may receive the leave (part-time vs. full-time, highly compensated vs. minimum wage employee, etc.). Here are three key takeaways for employers providing FFCRA benefits:

  1. ARPA “refills” the two-week (up to 80 hours) emergency paid sick leave entitlement for each eligible employee. Employees must have a qualifying COVID-19 reason.
  2. Under ARPA, employees may receive up to 12 weeks of qualifying paid family leave per employee (with a qualifying COVID-19 reason).
  3. It appears that ARPA allows public employers to claim tax credits for leave granted under ARPA.

For additional information and more details, read the Summary - COVID-19 Paid Leave and Tax Credits document below. 

You will also find draft resolution and policy update templates, tax forms, and an employee request form.