COVID-19 Information

To assist in the sharing of information that is developing on a daily basis, CCC has prepared this landing site as a resource for your reference and use.

This page has been created to share updates that pertain to the Catholic cemetery Industry; various National, governmental and Church resources, in addition to our members to support one another through the challenges everyone is encountering during this pandemic.

If you have any updates or resources to share, please email at cccoffice@catholiccemeteryconference.org and we will be happy to pass along. Should you wish to ask a question and/or provide an answer to a posted question(s) in relationship to how your fellow cemeterians are handling day-to-day operations, please click on the following link: Questions and Answers.

National Resources and Other Helpful Links


April 3, 2020

Courtesy of Mueller CPA:
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 26, 2020

CCC and CCFW Collaborating as Single Catholic Cemetery Resource During COVID-19 Pandemic

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 is, and continues to be, committed 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 has 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 is shared by CCC can be found at https://catholiccemeteryconference.org/covid-19-information/ and information being shared by CCFW can be found at https://www.ccfwest.org/industry-news/ccfw-covid-19-updates-and-resources/.

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 things. 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

CCC Letter to Government Leaders

Dear Speaker Pelosi, Leader McConnell, Minority Leader McCarthy, and Minority Leader Schumer:

The Catholic Cemetery Conference is the pre-eminent resource for all Catholic Cemeteries throughout North America committed to cemetery advocacy and education. Catholic cemeteries are playing a vital, if often overlooked, part of the public health of our nation. During a time of crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic, when the nation comes together to try to save lives, it can be hard to contemplate the sad inevitability that, as we have seen in other countries, there will be mass-fatalities.

Members of our organization are on the front lines dealing with the usual daily death rate; illness within their own families and staff; and additional COVID-19 deaths that may overload their capabilities. Guidance issued by the Department of Homeland Security on critical infrastructure workers placed cemetery workers in the same category as healthcare workers, like doctors and nurses. Rest assured, deathcare professionals stand ready to provide meaningful assistance to our nation, as they always do during times of crisis, by caring for the dead and their grieving families.

As you know, the majority of cemeteries in this country are small, parish and private cemeteries and are a vital part the communities they serve. More than 390,000 cemeteries across the United States are caring for the 2.839 million people who die each year. These cemeteries, along with funeral homes and crematories generate $16.323 billion in revenue, contributing to the economic health of communities throughout the country.

We respectfully ask that you include the deathcare profession in any emergency economic stimulus packages you enact. Like many other businesses throughout the nation, we fear the financial impact of COVID-19 will result in cemeteries 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 all deathcare businesses to continue serving families and communities long after this crisis has passed.

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 burial for their loved ones. 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.

On behalf of all cemeteries professionals, both Catholic and private, in the United States, we are
grateful for your leadership and stand ready, as always, to care for the dead and the families left behind.

Sincerely,

Richard P. Peterson, CCCE, CCE
President, CCC Board of Directors

David J. LaBarre, M.A., M.S.
Executive Director



March 23, 2020

Coronavirus Relief Bill for Employers

During the past few days, the Federal government has installed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act PL#116-127, to provide affected individuals with paid sick and family leave and create credits for affected employers. Below is what we know but there is still a lot we don’t know. We are expecting Form 941 to be redesigned to account for the changes listed below. This is a very fluid situation that changes daily and we will send out updates as the information becomes available.

Emergency paid sick Leave:

Private-sector employers with fewer than 500 workers (see potential exemption below for employers with fewer than 50 workers) and all public sector employers will be required to provide paid sick leave (two weeks for full-time employees and average hours over a two-week period for part-time employees). Sick leave would be necessary.

1. to respond to isolation/quarantine order or advisory.

2. for those experiencing COVID-19 symptoms

3. to care for a family member or a child whose school or place of care is closed due to a public emergency.

• The paid leave is capped at $511 per day for those on leave because of their own health issue and $200 per day for those caring for others.

• The US Department of Labor (DOL) has the authority to issue regulations to exempt small businesses with fewer than 50 employees. The DOL has until April 2nd to issue guidelines.

Emergency family and medical leave:

Private sector employers with fewer than 500 workers and government entities must provide as many as 12 weeks job-protected leave to employees to care for a child whose school or place of care is closed.

• The first 10 days could be unpaid, although an employee could choose to use other accrued leave.

• Employers will be required to pay employees two-thirds of their wages, not to exceed $200 per day or $10,000 in aggregate.

• Employers with fewer than 50 employees are eligible for an exemption from the requirements where the requirements would jeopardize the viability of the business; however, more information to come as the DOL will be providing emergency guidance and rulemaking to articulate the standard.

Tax credits for paid sick and family and medical leave:

• Employers will receive a 100% refundable payroll tax credit on the wages required to be paid under such a leave.

• Also, any additional wages paid due to the leave requirement will not be subject to the employer portion of Social Security/Medicare (FICA) tax.

For more information, please contact your Accounting Advisor.



March 20, 2020

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.

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 17, 2020

CCC Perspective on the Current Coronavirus Pandemic

Dear Friends in Christ –

During these challenging times as we confront the coronavirus pandemic, everyone has concerns about health and safety at home and in the workplace. We find ourselves asking many questions both from a personal and a ministerial perspective on how to proceed. It is our ministry to serve God’s people at trying times, yet we must be concerned for the health and welfare of all in order to serve others.

CCC recently announced the cancellation of the 2020 Exploring Catholic Cemetery Operations (ECCO). Every day there are new cases of the disease announced, an increasing number of people are dying, and new directives are coming out from federal, state, and local health departments as well as the leadership of our dioceses. Many of you have reached out to the CCC office for recommended procedures at your Catholic cemeteries. Therefore, we felt that it was imperative that we share the following information that we have collected across the country from our membership.

It is very important to note that this information is being shared simply as a reference based on conditions encountered by other Catholic cemeteries. We are not suggesting or endorsing that you implement these suggestions as recommendations supported by the Catholic Cemetery Conference. It is imperative that you follow not only the guidelines being promoted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) via the following link: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.html#funerals but also the directives being communicated by your local governmental and (Arch)diocesan leadership.

All of us already know the new normal: social distancing, limit unnecessary travel, avoid groups of people, and, most importantly, wash your hands.

The following information has been shared with CCC by our membership across the country and are representative of what various Catholic cemeteries have implemented:

• As Masses are being suspended across the country, Funeral Masses may also be suspended. Some dioceses are making exceptions for Funeral Masses with a limited number of attendees, such as immediate family only.

• Outdoor graveside services with the immediate family only.

• Limited access to the public to cemetery offices and other indoor facilities except to conduct at-need arrangements. All pre-need and memorial sales suspended until further notice.

• Staff responsibility to keep families informed – both those who already have services scheduled and as new services are scheduled – as additional restrictions and limitations are implemented.

• Gloves should be worn when handling a casket with field staff should keeping distance from funeral home personnel and mourners.

• Gloves should be worn when handling burial transit permits, body receipts, and payment including wiping surfaces, credit cards, pens, etc.

• Quarantine all mail, inter-office mail, and deliveries for a 24-hour period.

• Restrict transporting passengers in vans requesting that they follow the driver in their own cars.

• Staff responsibility to inform funeral directors as additional restrictions and limitations are implemented.


• Staff are scheduled in rotation shifts, with one group staying home to ensure coverage in the event of staff illness.

This is a difficult time for all of us. We are a community of faith. Let us continue to pray for all those involved. It is especially comforting in the realization that the dear Lord accompanies us in our trials. CCC will continue to share information with you as it becomes available.

In prayer,
Richard P. Peterson, CCCE, CCE
President, Associated Catholic Cemeteries
President, CCC Board of Directors