The Law @ Work

Is Your Business Eligible for a Paid Family and Medical Leave Tax Credit?

by Marylou V. Fabbo

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has implemented a two-year test program that will afford a sliding tax credit for wages employers pay to employees while they are on a family or medical leave of absence.  While tax law is beyond our area of expertise, we strongly suggest that employers contact their tax lawyers or accountants to see if they are eligible for the credit.  To qualify for the credit, certain criteria must be met.  For example, an employer must have a written policy that meets certain requirements including providing at least two weeks of paid family and medical leave annually to all qualifying employees; the paid leave cannot be less than 50% of the wages normally paid to the employee; and the policy must cover all employees who have been employed for at least one year.  To be eligible for the paid leave, an employee must be employed for at least a year and earn no more than $72,000 in 2017—with some forms of compensation excluded. If an employer provides paid vacation leave, personal leave, or medical or sick leave for other purposes, that paid leave is not considered family and medical leave.  Also, leave paid by a state or local government or required by state or local law also is not taken in account in determining the amount of employer-paid family and medical leave.   The IRS guidance on the tax credit, Notice 2018-71, may be found here.  We recommend that you speak to your tax adviser as soon as possible about whether your organization can take advantage of this credit.  If not, you may want to consider taking steps to become eligible in the future.

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