SBA Eases Forgiveness for Smaller PPP Loans  

In October, the SBA and Treasury issued an Interim Final Rule eliminating forgiveness reductions resulting from either a reduction in a borrower's number of full-time equivalent employees or individual employee pay if the borrower's loan (when aggregated with PPP loans to any of its affiliates) does not exceed $50,000.  To effectuate this change, the SBA and Treasury also issued a new forgiveness application – SBA Form 3508S – which is both shorter and should be easier for qualifying borrowers to complete than SBA Form 3508EZ. Borrowers that qualify to use SBA Form 3508S should note that they must still provide information evidencing that PPP loan proceeds were used in accordance with PPP requirements the same as with SBA Form 3508 or SBA Form 3508EZ (e.g., providing payroll reports to evidence payroll costs) to learn more. 

 

ADAMS KEEGAN EMPLOYER WEBINAR – November 6, 2020

On Friday, November 6, 2020, Adams Keegan hosted a special follow-up to last week's sesssion, focused on the Paycheck Protection Program. It included discussion about the PPP loan forgiveness process, Adams Keegan Efficenter® reporting, and other timely updates. Click here to listen.  

 

New California Law Provides COVID-19 Sick Leave for Large Employers  

California Governor Gavin Newsom has signed into law legislation that extends paid sick day protections to California’s workforce. The measure builds on the governor’s earlier action to expand paid sick days to employees in the food sector at the beginning of COVID-19 crisis. Under the new law, every California employee who has been exposed to or tests positive for the coronavirus will have access to paid sick days for the rest of the 2020 calendar year. The governor’s office released a press release with additional information regarding the new protections.

 

Adams Keegan COVID-19 Employer FAQ Webinar – September 25, 2020

On Friday, September 25, 2020, Adams Keegan hosted a 30-minute review of recent development in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, with special focus on how it affects healthcare environments. Click here to view the recording.

 

Adams Keegan COVID-19 Employer FAQ Webinar – September 18, 2020

On Friday, September 18, 2020, Adams Keegan hosted a webinar to discuss the most commonly asked questions of the week regarding COVID-19. This webinar was a review of the week in HR and live Q&A with our panel of experts addressing pandemic-related employer concerns. The recording of this webinar has expired.

 

Adams Keegan Payroll Tax Deferrals Webinar – September 3, 2020

On Thursday, September 3, 2020, Adams Keegan is hosted a webinar to address questions related to the President's Executive Order on payroll tax deferrals and what steps your business should take. This webinar will include a Q&A with our panel of experts. The recording of this webinar has expired.

 

DOL Issues New Guidance on FFCRA Child Care Leave

Last week, the Department of Labor (DOL) answered three questions related to being eligible for leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) for child care needs. The new guidance addresses difficult questions facing employers and employees as the fall school semester begins and parents potentially face several more months of school closures and distance learning. The new FAQs focus entirely on school reopening issues, including a common scenario for many parents in which a child’s school implements a hybrid-attendance or alternating schedule. Click here for additional information courtesy of Baker Donelson.

 

Lost Wage Assistance Program Enhances Unemployment Benefits

President Trump has recently authorized the creation of the Lost Wage Assistance (LWA) Program to support individuals unemployed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. This program is intended to replace the additional unemployment benefits put in place by the CARES Act that expired in July. Under the LWA Program, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will provide grants to participating states to deliver lost wage assistance to unemployment recipients. Eligible unemployment recipients may receive up to $400 of additional benefits each week. Read more from Jackson Lewis.

 

IRS Issues Guidence on President's Tax Deferral Memo

On Friday, the IRS released Notice 2020-65 as additional guidance regarding the August 8th Presidential Memorandum allowing employers the option to defer the employee’s portion of social security tax through the end of the year. The guidance clarifies that it is the employer that ultimately bears the responsibility to collect and remit the tax by May 1st, 2021 through a catch up of the deferred tax during the first four months of 2021, or otherwise making arrangements to collect the tax from employees. Further, the tax deferral will be applied on a paycheck by paycheck basis, with employees who make less than $4,000 in a bi-weekly pay period (or equivalent) eligible for the tax deferral for that particular paycheck. The deferred period will be based on check dates that fall inside the September 1st thru December 31st range.

The US Chamber of Commerce issued a memo earlier today stating that businesses are overwhelmingly electing not to implement this tax deferral and will continue withholding as normal due to the administrative, reporting, and liability issues employers face. At this time, Adams Keegan is taking a similar position on the issue and is not encouraging clients to move forward with deferring the tax at this time. However, if you are interested in exploring this option, please contact hr@adamskeegan.com and we will schedule a time to discuss this with you further. 

 

DOL Issues Guidance on Tracking Telework Hours

On August 24, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor issued Field Assistance Bulletin No. 2020-5 to provide guidance regarding employer’s Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) obligations to track hours worked by offsite employees. Under the FLSA, an employer is required to pay its employees for all hours worked, even work not requested but permitted, including work performed at home. If the employer knows or has reason to believe (constructive knowledge) that work is being performed, the time must be counted as hours worked. The DOL notes that if an employer should have discovered the unreported work through reasonable diligence, constructive knowledge of uncompensated work may be established. One way an employer generally may satisfy its obligation to exercise reasonable diligence to acquire knowledge regarding employees’ unscheduled hours of work is by establishing a reasonable process for an employee to report uncompensated work time and communicating this process to employees. The DOL states that if employees fail to report unscheduled work time through such a process that has been made available to them, the employer is generally not required to investigate in order to uncover the unreported hours.

 

Adams Keegan COVID-19 Employer FAQ Webinar – August 21, 2020

On Friday, August 21, 2020, Adams Keegan hosted a webinar to discuss the most commonly asked questions of the week regarding COVID-19. This webinar was primarily a Q&A with our panel of experts.  The recording of this webinar has expired.

 

Executive Order Issued on Payroll Tax Deferral

President Trump recently issued the Memorandum on Deferring Payroll Tax Obligations in Light of the Ongoing COVID-19 Disaster. This executive order allows for the deferral of the employee share of Social Security tax on compensation paid between September 1, 2020, and December 31, 2020. Note that this is only a deferral of the Social Security tax, not an elimination of it. Further, it is not recommended that employers take action at this time since the authority of the President to issue such an order is unclear, the current order lacks the specific details needed for implementation, and a future Congressional agreement could eliminate the need for the order entirely. Adams Keegan is monitoring the situation and will continue to provide updates with the latest developments.

 

Judge Vacates Part of DOL’s FFCRA Regulations

The federal district court in New York struck down four provisions in the Department of Labor’s (DOL) Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) regulations on August 3, 2020. The four provisions struck down include:

  • The definition of who qualifies for the healthcare provider exemption;
  • The exclusion from benefits of employees whose employers do not have work for them;
  • The requirement that employees secure consent for intermittent leave for certain qualifying reasons; and
  • The requirement that documentation be provided before taking leave.

The court let stand the remaining provisions of the DOL’s regulations. Click here to read more from Jackson Lewis.

 

Adams Keegan COVID-19 Employer FAQ Webinar – August 7, 2020

On Friday, August 7, 2020, Adams Keegan hosted a webinar to discuss the most commonly asked questions of the week regarding COVID-19. This webinar was primarily a Q&A with our panel of experts. The recording of this webinar has expired.

 

Senate Republicans Unveil HEALS Act

Republican leadership in the U.S. Senate recently unveiled its latest legislative response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection and Schools (HEALS) Act.  The bill represents the most recent effort to target relief to workers, employers, and others as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc on public health and the economy.  Key provisions of the HEALS Act include an expanded unemployment benefit, additional stimulus payments, and changes to the Paycheck Protection Program. The HEALS Act represents the “opening bid” in what are certain to be contentious negotiations over the fifth major coronavirus response package.  It is likely that some of these items will be negotiated and amended to gain sufficient support to pass the Senate. The U.S. House of Representatives passed its own version of an additional relief bill in May. Click here to read more from Littler Mendelson.

 

A List of Statewide Return to Work Protocols

Government officials across the country are easing up, or preparing to ease up, on the stringent business closures and stay at home orders that helped the nation successfully slow the spread of COVID-19. Each jurisdiction will emerge from this collective state of suspended animation by implementing different measures, and on different timetables. Many reopening plans include multiple mitigation steps, such as limits on occupancy, sanitation and physical distancing requirements, and new posting duties. Click here to review the general reopening plans and orders that have been issued thus far at the statewide level, courtesy of Littler Mendelson.

 

Additional DOL Guidance Issued as Workplaces Reopen

On July 20, the Department of Labor announced that it has published more guidance for workers and employers on how the protections and requirements of the FLSA, the FMLA, and the FFCRA affect workplaces as they reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic. The Wage and Hour Division guidance includes commonly asked questions and  answers that address critical issues in all three laws. This guidance has been periodically updated, but each guidance document is not separately dated.

 

Adams Keegan COVID-19 Employer FAQ Webinar – July 31, 2020

On Friday, July 31, 2020, Adams Keegan hosted a webinar to discuss the most commonly asked questions of the week regarding COVID-19. This webinar was primarily a Q&A with our panel of experts.  The recording of this webinar has expired.

 

Adams Keegan COVID-19 Employer FAQ Webinar – July 24, 2020

On Friday, July 24, 2020, Adams Keegan hosted a webinar to discuss the most commonly asked questions of the week regarding COVID-19. This webinar was primarily a Q&A with our panel of experts.  The recording of this webinar has expired.

 

Adams Keegan COVID-19 Employer FAQ Webinar – July 17, 2020

On Friday, July 17, 2020, Adams Keegan hosted a webinar to discuss the most commonly asked questions of the week regarding COVID-19. This webinar was primarily a Q&A with our panel of experts.  The recording of this webinar has expired.

 

Adams Keegan COVID-19 Employer FAQ Webinar – July 10, 2020

On Friday, July 10, 2020, Adams Keegan hosted a webinar to discuss the most commonly asked questions of the week regarding COVID-19. This webinar was primarily a Q&A with our panel of experts.  The recording of this webinar has expired.

 

Form I-9 Document Review Flexibility Rules Extended

On June 16, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced another extension of the flexibility in rules related to Form I-9 compliance that was granted earlier this year. Under the flexibilities guidance, employers with employees taking physical proximity precautions due to COVID-19 are not required to review the employee’s identity and employment authorization documents in the employee’s physical presence. However, employers must still inspect the employee’s Form I-9 documents remotely within three business days of hire for purposes of completing Section 2, and these documents must be physically examined within three days after normal operations resume.

 

Colorado Legislature Finalizes Paid Sick Leave Bill

On June 15, the Colorado Legislature finalized a bill that will require employers, through December 31, 2020, to provide employees with paid sick leave for reasons related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Further, beginning on January 1, 2021, the Healthy Families and Workplaces Act would also require employers in Colorado with more than 15 employees to provide paid sick leave to employees, accrued at the rate of one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked, up to a maximum of 48 hours. The bill also includes anti-retaliation, recordkeeping, and notice-posting requirements.

 

Adams Keegan COVID-19 Employer FAQ Webinar – July 2, 2020

On Thursday, July 2, 2020, Adams Keegan hosted a webinar to discuss the most commonly asked questions of the week regarding COVID-19. This webinar was primarily a Q&A with our panel of experts.  The recording of this webinar has expired.

 

Adams Keegan COVID-19 Employer FAQ Webinar – June 26, 2020

On Friday, June 26, 2020, Adams Keegan hosted a webinar to discuss the most commonly asked questions of the week regarding COVID-19. Topics included updates on pandemic-related employer concerns, as well as a first look at Adams Keegan’s SBA PPP Loan Forgiveness Report. 

 

Adams Keegan COVID-19 Employer FAQ Webinar – June 19, 2020

On Friday, June 19, 2020, Adams Keegan hosted a webinar to discuss the most commonly asked questions of the week regarding COVID-19. Topics included best practices and pitfalls when transitioning employees back to work, your SBA loan program questions, and any other COVID-19-related topic participants wanted to discuss. The recording of this webinar has expired.

 

Adams Keegan COVID-19 Employer FAQ Webinar – June 12, 2020

On Friday, June 12, 2020, Adams Keegan hosted a webinar to discuss the most commonly asked questions of the week regarding COVID-19. Topics included the Paycheck Protection Program updates, 401(k)-related proposals, return-to-work initiatives and any other COVID-19-related topic participants wanted to discuss. The recording of this webinar has expired.

 

Adams Keegan COVID-19 Employer FAQ Webinar – June 5, 2020

On Friday, June 5, 2020, Adams Keegan hosted a webinar to discuss the most commonly asked questions of the week regarding COVID-19. Topics included the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act, unemployment challenges and solutions, and return-to-work initiatives.  The recording of this webinar has expired.

 

House Passes PPP Loan Legislation

Last week, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 7010, also known as the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act, which proposes several changes to the current PPP loan program. Among other things, the legislation seeks to extend the current eight week loan forgiveness “covered period” and to adjust the amount of forgivable expenses that must be used on payroll costs from 75% to 60%. Approval is still required from the Senate, which is expected to take up the matter this week. Read more in a press release from the bill’s co-author, Representative Chip Roy.

 

OSHA Requires Employers to Investigate Confirmed COVID-19 Cases

OSHA has released new guidance that requires employers to make reasonable efforts to determine if an employee’s confirmed case of COVID-19 is work-related, thus qualifying as a recordable illness on the Form 300. Under the requirements, if an employer makes a reasonable and good-faith inquiry and still cannot determine if the causal exposure most likely occurred at work, the employer would not be required to record the illness. Due to the difficulty with determining work-relatedness, OSHA is exercising enforcement discretion to assess employers' efforts in making work-related determinations.

 

Adams Keegan COVID-19 Employer FAQ Webinar – May 22, 2020

On Friday, May 22, 2020, Adams Keegan hosted a webinar to discuss the most commonly asked questions of the week regarding COVID-19. Topics included the Paycheck Protection Program forgiveness process and calculations, including documentation requirements, and any other COVID-19-related topics webinar attendees wanted to discuss. The recording of this webinar has expired.

 

A List of Statewide Return to Work Protocols

Government officials across the country are easing up, or preparing to ease up, on the stringent business closures and stay at home orders that helped the nation successfully slow the spread of COVID-19. Each jurisdiction will emerge from this collective state of suspended animation by implementing different measures, and on different timetables. Many reopening plans include multiple mitigation steps, such as limits on occupancy, sanitation and physical distancing requirements, and new posting duties. Click here to review the general reopening plans and orders that have been issued thus far at the statewide level, courtesy of Littler Mendelson.

 

SBA Issues Loan Forgiveness Application

On Friday, May 15, 2020, the Small Business Administration issued a Paycheck Protection Program Loan Forgiveness Application, which provides guidance on how the SBA will require borrowers to seek forgiveness for Paycheck Protection Program loans. The Forgiveness Application provides the SBA's initial perspective on the qualifications for loan forgiveness under the CARES Act. Baker Donelson summarizes some of the key points here.

 

IRS Relaxes Sec. 125 Plan Rules Due to COVID-19

The IRS has released Notices 2020-29 and 2020-33 to provide flexibility under Sec. 125 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Under Notice 2020-29, the IRS provided increased flexibility with respect to 2020 midyear elections under a Code Sec. 125 cafeteria plan related to employer-sponsored health coverage, health flexible spending arrangements (health FSAs), and dependent care assistance programs (DCAPs). The IRS also provided increased flexibility with respect to grace periods to apply unused amounts in health FSAs to medical care expenses incurred through December 31, 2020, and unused amounts in DCAPs to dependent care expenses incurred through December 31, 2020. This relief is retroactive to January 1, 2020.

 

COBRA Temporarily Extends Election and Payment Deadlines

The IRS and DOL issued guidance on May 4, 2020 that adds a new level complexity to COBRA administration for employer-sponsored plans.  In short, the relief suspends many key participant deadlines during the so-called “Outbreak Period.”  The new rules define “Outbreak Period” to mean the period beginning March 1, 2020 and ending 60 days following the expiration of the National Emergency declaration related to COVID-19. Read more on this topic from Littler Mendelson.

 

Adams Keegan COVID-19 Employer FAQ Webinar – May 15, 2020

On Friday, May 15, 2020, Adams Keegan hosted a webinar to discuss the most commonly asked questions of the week regarding COVID-19. Topics included the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) loan programs, the unemployment claims process, and the important considerations for bringing employees back to work. Plus, we had time for additional questions. The recording of this webinar has expired.

 

Adams Keegan COVID-19 Employer FAQ Webinar – May 8, 2020

On Friday, May 8, 2020, Adams Keegan hosted a webinar to discuss the most commonly asked questions of the week regarding COVID-19. Topics include the Paycheck Protection Program (including a practical review of the calculations for the “covered” and “choice” periods), the unemployment claims process, and the important considerations for bringing employees back to work, including employee health testing and handling employees’ refusal to return to work. The recording of this webinar has expired.

 

CDC Issues Guidance on Preparing to Reopen Workplaces

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued new Guidance with instructions on cleaning and disinfecting public spaces, workplaces, businesses, schools, and homes in preparation for reopening following COVID-19 shutdowns. The Guidance includes a Cleaning and Disinfecting Decision Tool that distills the advice into a flow chart with different recommendations depending on whether the area is indoors, outdoors, frequently used, and the type of surface involved. The Guidance includes advice regularly seen in other CDC guidance, such as frequent handwashing and social distancing. Click here to read more from Jackson Lewis. 

 

DOL Extends Timeframes Applicable to Group Health Plans

The Department of Labor and the IRS have issued a final rule that extends certain time frames affecting participants’ rights to health care coverage, portability, and continuation of group health plan coverage under COBRA, and extends the time for plan participants to file or perfect benefit claims or appeals of denied claims. The agencies have issued the notice and a set of frequently-asked-questions (FAQs) to help employee benefit plans, plan participants and beneficiaries, employers and other plan sponsors, plan fiduciaries, and other service providers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the DOL, these extensions provide participants and beneficiaries of employee benefit plans additional time to make important health coverage and other decisions affecting their benefits in light of the National Emergency.

 

Georgia DOL Recommends Continuing to File Partial Claims for Laid-Off Employees

On May 5, the GA DOL sent an Employer Communication email to many employers in the state recommending that employers who decide to permanently lay off employees continue to file partial unemployment claims on their behalf until further notice. This presents many questions that have not been addressed, not the least of which is that this recommendation is in direct conflict with the information posted on their website which states that “employees must still be attached to the employer” in order for the employer to file a partial claim on their behalf. Adams Keegan will monitor this situation and provide additional guidance as it becomes available.

 

Adams Keegan COVID-19 Employer FAQ Webinar – May 1, 2020

On Friday, May 1, 2020, Adams Keegan hosted a webinar to discuss commonly asked COVID-19-related questions. Topics include the CARES Act, the unemployment claims process, and important considerations for bringing employees back to work. The recording of this webinar has expired.

 

Lawmakers Agree to New Funding for Paycheck Protection Program

Senate lawmakers agreed on April 21, 2020, to inject cash into the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), a mechanism for offering forgivable loans to small businesses. Lawmakers also agreed to allocate more money for disaster loans, healthcare providers, and testing. These funds give businesses a second chance at relief from the economic damage caused by COVID-19. The House is expected to take up and pass the bill shortly, and the president has indicated he will sign it into law. Click here to read more from Littler Mendelson.

 

House Democrats Propose Health Insurance Relief

House Democrats recently introduced legislation that if enacted would help workers maintain their employer-based health insurance in response to an unprecedented wave of layoffs and furloughs caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Worker Health Coverage Protection Act, H.R. 6514, would provide federal assistance to cover the full cost of COBRA premiums for unemployed workers or the full cost of health insurance premiums owed by workers who are furloughed.

 

CA Governor Signs Executive Order to Add Paid Leave for Food Sector Workers Impacted by COVID-19

On April 16, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Executive Order N-51-20 to support workers from large employers in the food sector industry impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic with two weeks of paid sick leave, filling a gap left by federal relief that had provided similar paid leave benefits for employers with fewer than 500 workers.

 

COVID-19 FAQs

Adams Keegan has received a number of questions from clients regarding FFCRA and CARES Act provisions. Below are some of the most frequently asked along with answers based on the best available guidance at this time.

  • Question: May an employer count leave given for a COVID-related reason prior to April 1 toward the FFCRA tax credit?
    • Answer: No, only leave provided on or after April 1 should be allocated as COVID leave that is eligible for the FFCRA tax credit.
  • Question: May an employee decline using their available COVID sick leave if they have a qualifying reason?
    • Answer: While the DOL has issued guidance stating that an employee may have the option to decline COVID sick leave during a period of eFMLA, they have not issued guidance stating that the employee can decline COVID leave in any other qualifying circumstance.
  • Question: Are businesses with fewer than 50 employees exempt from providing FFCRA leave for COVID-related reasons?
    • Answer: A business with fewer than 50 employees may be exempt from the requirement to provide FFCRA leave due to a child’s school or place of care being closed due to COVID-related reasons if an officer of the business determines that providing such leave would jeopardize the viability of the business. The business would still be required to provide FFCRA leave for all other qualifying reasons.
  • Question: The amount of forgiveness of a PPP loan depends on the borrower’s payroll costs over an eight-week period; when does that period begin?
    • Answer: The eight-week period begins on the date the lender makes the first disbursement of the PPP loan to the borrower. 
  • Question: May an Eligible Employer receive both the tax credits for qualified leave wages under the FFCRA and a Small Business Interruption Loan under the CARES Act?
    • Answer: Yes.  However, if an Eligible Employer receives tax credits for qualified leave wages, those wages are not eligible as “payroll costs” for purposes of receiving loan forgiveness under section 1106 of the CARES Act.
  • Question: My employee was monetarily ineligible for regular state unemployment, is there any provision in the CARES Act to deal with this?
    • Answer: Yes, employees who are monetarily ineligible for regular state unemployment can apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) which allows benefits for independent contractors, freelancers, and employees who are not normally eligible for regular unemployment. They would follow the instructions on their relevant state website for applying as needed. Some states require no additional action if you have already gone through the regular unemployment process.

 

Information on Employee Retention Tax Credit

Although there is uncertainty surrounding the Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, you can trust that Adams Keegan is here to help you navigate these uncharted waters with pertinent and reliable information. With the Employee Retention Credit (ERC), you may be eligible to receive up to $5,000 for each of your employees. Click here for more information about this benefit and business eligibility.

 

Adams Keegan Launches New COVID-19 Government Stimulus Resources

Adams Keegan today announced the launch of two new tools developed to assist businesses with navigating the complexities of COVID-19-related government stimulus programs. Through its proprietary HRIS, Efficenter(R), Adams Keegan's SBA CARES Data Report provides its clients with a complete picture of the qualifying costs of payroll for any date range over the past 12 months. This simplifies and speeds up the process for working with SBA lenders, as part of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). This first-of-its-kind tool reflects current general understanding and interpretation of the statutes but will be amended with the most up-to-date information as further SBA guidance emerges. In addition, Adams Keegan has created a tool to assist employers and employees with new emergency paid sick leave and enhanced FMLA leave provisions that allow for additional leave due to COVID-19-related absences. Efficenter allows employers to easily track paid leave and report it in their payroll submissions in a manner consistent with the stimulus requirements. Click here to learn more.

 

COVID-19 LEAVE TRACKING AVAILABLE IN EFFICENTER

As noted in a previous COVID-19 Alert, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act amended the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to provide paid emergency leave to eligible employees and also required covered employers to provide paid sick leave to employees in need of such leave due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Act also provides reimbursable tax credits to covered employers for the costs associated with providing this paid leave and sick time. The Act goes into effect on April 1 and applies to employers with fewer than 500 employees. To assist clients in managing this process, Adams Keegan has created a tool in Efficenter’s Manage Leave that allows employees to request, and employers to approve and track, leave used for COVID-19-related purposes. To turn on this feature, please contact your Client Service Manager. If you have questions regarding the leave, please direct those to your HR Consultant.

 

INFORMATION ON SBA LOAN PROGRAMS

As a result of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, multiple avenues of relief will be available to small businesses through programs administered by the Small Business Administration (SBA). Notably, the size limits for consideration as a "small business concern" have been changed, making many more entities eligible for assistance through programs administered by the SBA. Click here to read more from Baker Donelson regarding the various assistance programs available, including the Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) and the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Also note that while the form for filling out a PPP loan has been released, Treasury Secretary Mnuchin has recently stated that the applications cannot be submitted until Friday, April 3, 2020. Efficenter now has the SBA CARES Act Data Report available under the Reports tab, which provides information necessary to complete the PPP application.

 

CARES ACT PAYCHECK PROTECTION PROGRAM INFORMATION

The Coronavirus Aid, Response, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) includes the Paycheck Protection Program.  Administered through the Small Business Administration, the program offers $350 billion in loans to help small businesses retain employees. Click here to learn more, courtesy of NAPEO.

 

COVID-19 EMPLOYER IMPACT WEBINAR PRESENTATION

On March 31, 2020, Adams Keegan presented a webinar, in conjunction with the Greater Memphis Chamber, about the most current information on COVID-19 impact to employers.  The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and Coronavirus Aid, Response, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) are covered, including Paycheck Protection Program and tax credits. Click here for more information.

 

PRESIDENT TRUMP SIGNS CARES ACT INTO LAW

President Trump has signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, a $2 trillion economic relief package, into law. Among other things, the Act includes a significant expansion of the unemployment insurance program, a small business rescue plan that allocates billions to forgivable loans and grants to small businesses and non-profits, and authorizes direct payments to individuals and families. The Act also provides retention tax credits to encourage businesses to keep workers on the payroll during the coronavirus crisis. Click here to read more on CARES from Jackson Lewis, and note that Adams Keegan is working on creating reports that will provide information employers will need when applying for these SBA disaster loans.

 

UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS INCREASE UNDER CARES ACT

Under the CARES Act, a temporary Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program will relax employee eligibility requirements, increase maximum weekly unemployment benefit amounts by $600 for the next four months, and waive the typical one-week waiting period for benefits. Since these unemployment benefits are also available to part-time workers whose pay has been reduced, it is important to note that this change in maximum weekly benefits will expand the pool of employees that are eligible to file a partial claim under the Act.

 

DOL PROVIDES EXTENSIVE FAQS ON FFCRA LEAVE OBLIGATIONS

In an effort to assist businesses with compliance regarding the new FFCRA paid sick and expanded medical leave mandates, the U.S. Department of Labor has issued additional FAQs regarding employer and employee rights and responsibilities under the Act.

 

DHS ANNOUNCES FLEXIBILITY FOR I-9 DOCUMENT REVIEW

Due to precautions being implemented by employers and employees related to physical proximity associated with COVID-19, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced today that it will exercise discretion to defer the physical presence requirements associated with Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9). Employers with employees taking physical proximity precautions due to COVID-19 will not be required to review the employee’s identity and employment authorization documents in the employee’s physical presence. This provision only applies to employers and workplaces that are operating remotely, and a physical inspection of the documents must occur once normal operations resume. For additional information, please read the USCIS News Release.

 

STATES MANDATE BUSINESS CLOSURES

Several states are requiring businesses that are not providing essential services to close or reduce their in-office workforce. New York has issued an executive order mandating businesses that rely on in-office personnel to decrease their workforce by 75 percent. Pennsylvania has ordered many businesses to close their physical locations, and California has issued a stay-at-home order to workers in the state. This is a rapidly updating situation, so please reference the agency website of any state in question for the most up-to-date information on these orders.

 

NEW YORK TO PROVIDE SICK LEAVE FOR CORONAVIRUS AND BEYOND

On March 17, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced a deal with the state legislature on a bill that would guarantee job protection and pay for New Yorkers who have been quarantined as a result of COVID-19. The program bill would also make permanent the comprehensive paid sick leave policy first advanced by Cuomo in his Fiscal Year 2021 Executive Budget proposal, according to the Governor’s office.

 

OREGON ADOPTS EMERGENCY LEAVE RULE

Under a temporary administrative order, effective March 18, 2020, Oregon employees may be absent for up to 12 weeks, on a continuous or intermittent basis, because the employee’s child’s school or place of care has been closed by public authorities, including out of concerns related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Click here to read more, courtesy of Jackson Lewis.

 

OSHA AND WHD RELEASE COVID-19 GUIDANCE

The Labor Department’s OSHA and its Wage and Hour Division have both published guidance on dealing with coronavirus in the workplace. OSHA has released a comprehensive 35-page guide for employer planning purposes, while the WHD division has released frequently asked questions and answers about COVID-19 and its intersection with the FLSA and FMLA. In addition, OSHA recently launched a COVID-19 webpage, which provides infection prevention information specifically for workers and employers.

 
UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE ELIGIBILITY IMPACTED BY CORONAVIRUS 

The House of Representatives has introduced H.R. 6201: Families First Coronavirus Response Act. Among other things, this legislation would assist states financially in administering unemployment insurance programs by providing emergency grants to any states that experience a spike in unemployment claims as long as they temporarily ease eligibility requirements, such as work search, that could limit employee access to benefits due to COVID-19. If passed, this could encourage states to follow the lead from other states that have already eased their unemployment eligibility requirements in response to the outbreak. California, Illinois, Rhode Island, and Washington are among the states that have already acted to revise or clarify their policies to provide relief to employees that must miss work due to the coronavirus pandemic.

 
COLORADO HELP RULES IN EFFECT 

On March 11, the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) released emergency rules that temporarily require employers in certain industries to provide a “small amount of paid sick leave” to employees with flu-like symptoms while awaiting COVID-19 testing. Specifically, rules require these employers to provide paid leave for the four-day period required for testing. The rules will remain in place for 30 days, or longer if the state of emergency declared by Governor Jared Polis continues.