Committed to promoting the Order of Christian Funerals and the tradition of Catholic Burial in Catholic Cemeteries.

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CCFW Covid-19 Updates and Resources

CCFW would like to be a source of support and resources to our members  during this time of uncertainty in the world.

This page has been created to share updates that pertain to the Cemetery and Funeral Industry, Resources from Members that have helped them navigate through daily changes created by Covid-19, as well as a place to support each other.

If you have any updates or resources to share, please email admin@ccfwest.org. Please also consider joining our CCFW Members Private Facebook Group to discuss issues as they arise and provide support.


Helpful Resources

CCC Covid-19 Page ICCFA Covid-19 Page  CDC Website Useful Links

April 3, 2020 Updates

Paid Leave For Workers & Tax Credits For Small Business

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201):

Employers who are subject to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) must provide up to 80 hours of paid sick leave and expanded Family Medical Leave to eligible employees.

Employer Requirements:

  • Employers with fewer than 500 employees, and public agencies with at least one employee.
  • An employer may not require an employee to use other types of paid leave provided by the employer before the employee uses the paid sick time available under this law.
  • All employees are eligible, and paid sick leave hours can be taken immediately, regardless of the duration of the employee’s employment.
  • Employees on furlough or who have been terminated (either before or April 1) are not eligible for paid sick leave or EFMLA.

Qualifying Reasons:

An employee is entitled to take leave related to COVID-19 if the employee is unable to work, including unable to telework, because:

  1. The employee is subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19.
  2. The employee has been advised by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19.
  3. The employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis.
  4. The employee is caring for an individual who is subject to either number 1 or 2 above.
  5. The employee is caring for his or her son or daughter if the school or place of care of the son or daughter has been closed, or the childcare provider of such son or daughter is unavailable due to COVID-19 precautions.
  6. The employee is experiencing any other substantially similar condition as specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of Labor.

Pay Requirements:

  • Paid sick leave taken for reasons 1, 2, or 3 above must be paid at the employee’s regular rate of pay, or minimum wage, whichever is greater, up to a maximum of $511/day and $5,110 total.
  • An employee taking leave for reasons 4, 5, or 6 must be compensated at two-thirds of his or her regular rate of pay, or minimum wage, whichever is greater, up to a maximum of $200/day and $2,000 total.

The Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLA):

  • EFMLA amends the current Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), allowing leave for eligible employees who can’t work (or telework) because their minor child’s school or childcare service is closed due to a COVID-19 emergency declared by a federal, state or local authority.
  • Employees who work for an employer with fewer than 500 employees and who have been on the payroll for at least 30 calendar days.

Benefits:

  • The first 10 days of this leave may be unpaid; however, employees may elect to substitute available paid time-off, such as vacation, personal or sick leave, during this time.
  • After the initial 10 days, employers must pay eligible employees at least two-thirds of the employee’s regular rate of pay (as defined under the Fair Labor Standards Act) based on the number of hours the employee would otherwise have been scheduled to work. These paid family leave benefits are capped at $200 a day (or $10,000 total). 

Prompt Payment for the Cost of Providing Leave:

When employers pay their employees, they are required to withhold from their employees’ paychecks federal income taxes and the employees’ share of Social Security and Medicare taxes. The employers then are required to deposit these federal taxes, along with their share of Social Security and Medicare taxes, with the IRS and file quarterly payroll tax returns (Form 941 series) with the IRS.

Under guidance that will be released next week, eligible employers who pay qualifying sick or child care leave will be able to retain an amount of the payroll taxes equal to the amount of qualifying sick and child care leave that they paid, rather than deposit them with the IRS.

The payroll taxes that are available for retention include withheld federal income taxes, the employee share of Social Security and Medicare taxes, and the employer share of Social Security and Medicare taxes with respect to all employees.

If there are not sufficient payroll taxes to cover the cost of qualified sick and child care leave paid, employers will be able to file a request for an accelerated payment from the IRS. The IRS expects to process these requests in two weeks or less.

Example:

If an eligible employer paid $4,000 in sick leave and is otherwise required to deposit $7,000 in payroll taxes, including taxes withheld from all its employees, the employer could use up to $4,000 of the $7,000 of taxes it was going to deposit for making qualified leave payments. The employer would only be required under the law to deposit the remaining $3,000 on its next regular deposit date. An immediate dollar-for-dollar tax offset against payroll taxes will be provided.

Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act):

  • Expands Unemployment Benefits and offers coverage to workers who are not eligible for traditional Unemployment Insurance from April 1st, 2020 to December 31st, 2020.
  • Part of the recently-passed CARES Act, the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program was created which is effective through December 31, 2020, to help those not traditionally eligible for Unemployment Insurance (UI). Workers who are not eligible for UI could be eligible for PUA. These workers include self-employed individuals, independent contractors, those with limited work history and those who are unable to work as a result of the coronavirus public health emergency.
  • An additional $600/week payment to each UI or PUA recipient through the end of July 2020.
  • Provides funding for the 1st week of unemployment for states to waive the traditional “waiting week” before benefits begin.
  • Provides an additional 13 weeks of unemployment to help those who remain unemployed after weeks of state unemployment are no longer available.

Additional Information:

With the help of your employment counsel, it is important for you to review and update your Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and sick leave policies. The Department of Labor (DOL) has recently created an Employee Rights flyer that can be distributed to your employees.

The new legislation was put together quickly so there will be guidance and further interpretation from the Department of Labor shortly. Be sure to stay up-to-date. You can also refer to the DOL’s Questions and Answers fact sheet.


March 30, 2020 Updates

PPE Guidelines for Cemeteries

Provided by CCFW Member, Ensure-A-Seal

While CDC, OSHA, and WHO have issued guidance focused on funeral directors and mortuary workers, Ensure-A-Seal wanted to apply these existing guidelines to cemetery burials.
Below is an in-depth document and summarized Ensure-A-Seal recommendations below. Thank you for everything you are doing to support our industry at this time.
  1. Each cemetery must review all federal, state, and local guidance to make determinations on protocol for handling caskets. The following information represents suggestions based on the available guidelines we have reviewed.
  2. Treat every case like a COVID-19 case.
  3. Strictly enforce social distancing.
  4. Disinfect casket.
  5. Employees handling casket should wear gloves, Tyvek suits, and face coverings.
  6. Perform routine and regular proper hand hygiene before and after a burial, and throughout the day.

PPE Considerations Regarding COVID-19 for Cemeteries 033020

Emergency Loans Small Business Guide and Checklist

Below is a link to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Coronavirus Emergency Loans Small Business Guide and Checklist. As part of the recently passed Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES)
Act, there is support for 501(c)(3) organizations and other small businesses.

Small Business Guide and Checklist


March 26, 2020 Updates

Dear Members of CCC and CCFW,

In an effort to come together under a common and unified collaboration on behalf of all Catholic cemeterians across the country during these very difficult and challenging times, the Catholic Cemetery Conference and Catholic Cemeteries and Funeral Services of the West will be working closely with one another to share vital updates to the members of both organizations.

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) is rocking our world. As the pandemic continues to grow, it is important for all Archdiocese and Diocese regardless of geography to come together, share ideas and develop best practices to help families.

Over the past few weeks, we have been forced to re-invent our cemetery business. We have closed our buildings to the public. We have to limit the number of workers in our building sending many staffers to work remotely. We are planning via phone, email and Zoom.

The mission of both our organizations are, and continues to be, commitment to promoting the Order of Christian Funerals and the tradition of Catholic Burial in Catholic Cemeteries. As a group, we can work together to find solutions to our current situation to continue honoring our message.

We encourage everyone receiving this email to ask questions and share what you are doing. Include what’s working and what’s not working. Help others get better. By coming together in our faith, we can help our peers avoid the same pitfalls.

Each of our organizations have created a landing page on our respective websites to facilitate the sharing of information. As information is shared with us, we will in turn share with you. Information being shared by CCC can be found at CCC Covid-19 Information and information being shared by CCFW can be found at CCFW Covid-19 Resources and Updates

It was Charles Darwin who said “It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive, but those who can best manage change.” Individually, we will do very good things. Collectively, we will do great thing. Let’s be great.

Faithfully together as one,

David J. LaBarre, M.A., M.S.
Executive Director
Catholic Cemetery Conference


Heather Long
Executive Director
Catholic Cemeteries and Funeral Services of the West

Richard P. Peterson, CCCE, CCE
President, Catholic Cemetery Conference

Jerry Del Core
President, Catholic Cemeteries and Funeral Services of the West


March 24, 2020 Updates

U.S. Department Of Labor Publishes Guidance Explaining Paid Sick Leave And Expanded Family and Medical Leave Under

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) announced its first round of published guidance to provide information to employees and employers about how each will be able to take advantage of the protections and relief offered by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) when it takes effect on April 1, 2020.

FFCRA will help the United States combat and defeat COVID-19 by giving all American businesses with fewer than 500 employees funds to provide employees with paid leave, either for the employee’s own health needs or to care for family members. The legislation will ensure that workers are not forced to choose between their paychecks and the public health measures needed to combat the virus while at the same time reimbursing businesses.The guidance – provided in a Fact Sheet for Employees, a Fact Sheet for Employers and a Questions and Answers document – addresses critical questions, such as how an employer must count the number of their employees to determine coverage; how small businesses can obtain an exemption; how to count hours for part-time employees; and how to calculate the wages employees are entitled to under this law.

“Providing information to the American workforce is a top priority for the Wage and Hour Division,” said Administrator Cheryl Stanton. “With so many workers and so many employers struggling to find their way in these trying conditions, providing guidance on a rolling basis will allow workers and businesses to prepare for the law to go into effect on April 1, 2020. We remain committed, and are working around the clock to provide the information and tools for employees and employers alike.”

The guidance announced today is just the first round of information and compliance assistance to come from WHD. A workplace poster required for most employers will be published later this week, along with additional fact sheets and more Q&A.

WHD provides additional information on common issues employers and employees face when responding to COVID-19, and its effects on wages and hours worked under the Fair Labor Standards Act and job-protected leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act at https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic.

For more information about the laws enforced by the WHD, call 866-4US-WAGE, or visit https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd.

For further information about COVID-19, please visit the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

WHD’s mission is to promote and achieve compliance with labor standards to protect and enhance the welfare of the nation’s workforce. WHD enforces federal minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping and child labor requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act. WHD also enforces the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act, the Employee Polygraph Protection Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, wage garnishment provisions of the Consumer Credit Protection Act and a number of employment standards and worker protections as provided in several immigration related statutes. Additionally, WHD administers and enforces the prevailing wage requirements of the Davis Bacon Act and the Service Contract Act and other statutes applicable to federal contracts for construction and for the provision of goods and services.

The mission of the U.S. Department of Labor is to foster, promote and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.

# # #

Media Contact: Emily Weeks, 202-693-4676, weeks.emily.c@dol.gov


March 23, 2020 Updates

Emergency stimulus funding for grieving families and small businesses

This will be an interesting item to watch as Congress works towards a stimulus package.

NFDA sent the linked letter to Congress today. NFDA COVID19 Emergency Funding Letter to Congressional Leadership

In the letter they specify two asks:

1 – We respectfully ask that you include the deathcare profession in any emergency economic stimulus packages you enact. Like many other small businesses throughout the nation, we fear the financial impact of COVID-19 will result in funeral homes being forced to downsize their workforce or even shut their doors, hindering their abilities to handle the increased death rate and impacting the economic health of the communities they serve. These much-needed funds will enable funeral businesses to continue serving families and communities long after this crisis has passed.

2 – Second, as businesses throughout the country, such as retail stores and restaurants, shut down and lay off workers during this pandemic, many families will struggle to afford a dignified funeral and final disposition for their loved ones. This crisis also impacts the poor, underserved and indigent who cannot afford a funeral. We ask, on behalf of those families who will experience the death of a loved one, that you consider providing emergency relief in this time of grief and crisis. 


March 21, 2020 Updates

Letter from the President

Greetings from the Diocese of Sacramento.

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) is rocking our world. As the pandemic continues to grow, it is important for all Archdiocese and Diocese to come together, share ideas and develop best practices to help families.  It’s an understatement to say “This is new territory.” Individually and collectively, we are writing the “How to…,” or “When…” book.

All of our Archdiocese and Diocese are different. Yet, all have certain commonalities. Our Archbishops and Bishops are canceling Mass – until further notice! Cancelling Mass? That’s unheard of, isn’t it? These types of decisions impacting everyone.

How do these types of decisions impact us? Does “No Mass” mean no funeral masses? In Sacramento’s case, yes, it does. If your Diocese allows funeral masses, are there restrictions? Originally, we were allowing 50 attendees. That shifted to only 10 immediate family members. And, we received pushback from clergy and families.

In Sacramento, all Masses have been cancelled, including vigils and funeral masses. Committals are not far behind as we try to comply with the Governor’s “Stay at Home” order.

Over the past few days, we have been forced to re-invent our funeral and cemetery business. We have closed our buildings to the public. We have to limit the number of workers in our building sending many staffers to work remotely. We are making arrangements via phone, email and Zoom. There are ways to make this work for families.

I am happy to share how we redefined our how we are going receive and work with families – from Pre-need thru committal. We explored the roles of our Family Service Councilor, Funeral Director, Funeral Assistant, Outreach, Reception and other areas. I am hopeful this is food for thought for your operation. In turn, I hope you will share what you are doing and your thoughts about how we could improve.
Our CCFW mission is and continues to be commitment to promoting the Order of Christian Funerals and the tradition of Catholic Burial in Catholic Cemeteries. As a group, we can work together to find solutions to our current situation to continue honoring our message.

CCFW is designed to help Diocese improve. Improvement is connecting families back to the church. Properly caring for the dead. Helping family grieve and celebrate. Overall, we need to provide an outstanding experience of our families.

I encourage everyone receiving this email to ask questions and share what you are doing. Include what’s working and what’s not working. Help others get better. You can help your peers avoid the same pitfalls.

It was Charles Darwin who said “It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive, but those who can best manage change.”Individually, we will do very good things. Collectively, we will do great thing.Let’s be great.

Heather has created a Resources Pages for us to post and respond to Coronavirus issues as they arise.  We also encourage you to join our Private Facebook Group to post questions and share information. We welcome your thoughts, questions and resources you would like to share with our group.

In prayer for you and the good work you do,

Jerry Del Core
JDelCore@scd.org
CCFW Board President
President and CEO, Catholic Funeral & Cemetery Services Diocese of Sacramento.


March 20, 2020 Updates

Message from CCC:

Confusion on Deathcare Being Essential

Last night (Thursday, March 20, 2020) it was announced that deathcare workers were named as essential workforce during the COVID-19 crisis. However, it is important to understand that IT IS NOT A MANDATE. As stated in the memo from U.S. Department of Homeland Security: ( https://www.cisa.gov/publication/guidanceessential-critical-infrastructure-workforce )

Accordingly, this list is advisory in nature. It is not, nor should it be considered to be, a federal directive or standard in and of itself. 

While the federal recommendation is a great first step, there is still more to do.

States are not required to follow this recommendation, so it is important that we get exact language to the states for the entire deathcare profession.

CCC has drafted a letter with the assistance of Poul Lemaster, Esq. which is being sent to state health departments, regulatory agencies, and state governors. We ask that you download this letter and get it to your local agencies so that we can ensure that the federal government recommendation is ultimately adopted at the state level. At this point in time, each state is issuing its own orders. Download the letter.

Prayer to Our Lady of Guadalupe During COVID-19 Pandemic
by Archbishop José Gomez

Holy Virgin of Guadalupe,
Queen of the Angels and Mother of the Americas.
We fly to you today as your beloved children.
We ask you to intercede for us with your Son,
as you did at the wedding in Cana.
Pray for us, loving Mother,
and gain for our nation and world,
and for all our families and loved ones,
the protection of your holy angels,
that we may be spared the worst of this illness.
For those already afflicted,
we ask you to obtain the grace of healing and deliverance.
Hear the cries of those who are vulnerable and fearful,
wipe away their tears and help them to trust.
In this time of trial and testing,
teach all of us in the Church to love one another and to be patient and kind.
Help us to bring the peace of Jesus to our land and to our hearts.


March 19, 2020 Updates

Guidance was issued today by the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) named mortuary workers as “critical infrastructure workers.” This underscores the vital role of those who work in deathcare play in responding to the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Cemetery and mortuary workers, which the guidance defines as “Workers performing mortuary services, including funeral homes, crematoriums, and cemetery workers” and “Workers who coordinate with other organizations to ensure the proper recovery, handling, identification, transportation, tracking, storage, and disposal of human remains and personal effects; certify cause of death; and facilitate access to mental/behavioral health services to the family members, responders, and survivors of an incident,” are included in the “Healthcare/Public Health” category along with doctors, nurses, people performing testing and researchers. This essentially covers the full spectrum of those who work in deathcare.


March 18, 2020 – Updates and Resources

Archdiocese of San Francisco Response to Covid-19 – From Monica Williams

Our counties are under “shelter in place orders” but have deemed cemeteries “essential” businesses, so we are conducting burials. All services for cremated remains may be postponed if desired.  The cemetery will accept and hold urns if requested.

All services for caskets will be fulfilled but are limited to 10 people in attendance.  People may witness from their vehicles if desired. Social distancing should be observed.  The cemeteries will assist families in planning larger memorial gatherings in the future if desired.

Our offices are meeting only with families who have an immediate need to select resting places and allowing only two family representatives into the arrangement room at one time.  We are not driving families in cemetery vehicles, but leading them in their own cars through the cemeteries to select spots.  All other business is being conducted via phone/fax/email.

The grounds of our cemeteries remain open for visitation but we encourage families to follow all local guidelines regarding limitations on activity.  We have a regular flower removal schedule; we put this on hiatus this week realizing that many people would not be able to come to the cemetery to pick up their flowers.

Our office staff this week is planning on rotating through M/W/F shifts and T/TH/S shifts.  The field has split arrival times 7am and 8am to create separation at lunch and break times.  Administrative staff who can work from home are being encouraged to do so.  We are closing in the afternoons as business and funerals subside.

For day two, we were ok.

Here are some problems I anticipate:

We have committed to two weeks of full pay.  What happens after that?  

What if families refuse to follow the 10 maximum?  Will we go to delivery only services and not allow graveside services?

What if a staff member tests positive?  Are we all quarantined? Are burials put on hold?

Below is a letter that was sent to staff members. Please feel free to use as a reference when communicating to your teams as needed.

ADSF Cemetery Precautions Letter 03162020


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Additional Resources

CDC Coronavirus Guidance

OSHA Coronavirus Guidance

WHO

Department of Labor Guidance on Families First Coronavirus Response Act

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