Sneak Preview: EPA Updates FAQ To Address M-20-26 Provisions

Jerry Ashworth
July 30, 2020 at 07:40:59 ET
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(The following was excerpted from a recent article in the Federal Grants Management Handbook.) Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) grant recipients may continue to compensate employees whose work on EPA financial assistance agreements has been interrupted due to the impact of COVID-19 as long as they continue to compensate employees whose salaries or benefits are funded from other sources, according to an updated Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document recently issued by the agency.

EPA revised the document in light of the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) June issuance of OMB Memorandum M-20-26, which discusses the latest grant-related flexibilities that federal agencies can offer to grant recipients in light of the COVID-19 disruptions, and which supersedes now-rescinded OMB memoranda M-20-17 and M-20-20.

The agency updated the FAQ to provide applicants and recipients with the latest information regarding EPA policies during the current public health emergency. EPA grant recipients that have questions not addressed in the FAQ should direct them to the grant specialist and project officer for their assistance agreement.

M-20-26, which is effective until Sept. 30 unless extended by OMB, states that awarding agencies, when addressing the allowability of costs (§§200.403-200.405), may allow recipients affected by losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic to continue to charge salaries and benefits to currently active federal awards consistent with the recipient’s policy of paying salaries (under unexpected or extraordinary circumstances) from all funding sources, federal and nonfederal. “In other words, if the recipient compensates employees who work on interrupted projects or activities that are not financed by EPA grants, then the recipient may charge EPA grants for the employees’ compensation during the interruption,” the FAQ explains.

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