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COVID-19 Update

Contents

OVERVIEW

With COVID-19, employers must balance health and safety with the need to protect their business.  Brody and Associates is here to help.  We continue to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic closely, and all the latest legal and legislative moves that impact employers.

This page is designed to provide you with relevant facts employers should know regarding the virus, links to government agencies which are responding to the outbreak, as well as practical insights.

FACTS OF THE DAY

Fact 1:  With clear, calm and wise thinking (and a little luck), we will get through this pandemic.  While no one will be unscathed, getting through this challenge is attainable. 

Fact 2:   Paid leave – an option, not a legal obligation.  As long as you are even handed, you are allowed to send all similarly situated employees home for lack of work or because you are otherwise closing your doors – for any period of time.   Currently, a few states like New York mandate paid leave of a limited duration if schools and businesses are shut down.   If your business is closed due to an Emergency Executive Order of the Government based on the Coronavirus, your employees likely will be entitled to this benefit.   But, if this does not apply to your employees, unemployment is an option.

Fact 3:  Maintain a safe workplace – distribute health and safety guidelines.  OSHA mandates you maintain a safe workplace.  Given the uncharted territory of COVID-19, specific compliance guidelines may not exist for your industry.   However, there remains the General Duty Clause by which OSHA mandates every employer create a safe and healthy workplace.   Until specific regulations are issued, the best idea is to look to the CDC and NIH.   The CDC and NIH both have extensive guidelines on how to stay safe and minimize the spread of Coronavirus.   Distribute the guidelines to every employee.  Over educate.  Then check OSHA’s website for new guidance that may impact your business.  Click here for the general guidance issued by OSHA.

MUSING OF THE WEEK

Musing 1:   Looking for the new normal.  This isn’t the new normal; we’re not there yet.  For your business to succeed you need to be flexible and creative.  So plan for the unexpected – an oxymoron but true.    At any cost but health, find new ways to keep your business safe and successful, so when the new normal is here, you’ll be better than before.

 

ARTICLES SUMMARIZING COVID-19 LEGISLATION

 

Covid-19 Federal Paid Sick Leave Legislation Just Passed:  What Employers Are Obligated To Do

Two federal Acts will take effect on April 2, 2020.    Both cover employers with less than 500 employees. Together they provide 12 weeks of paid leave for employees who must care for someone impacted by COVID-19 or who are themselves sick or likely infected by the virus.  Here is the initial guidance on these laws:

Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act

This Act expands time off provided under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).  However, unlike the FMLA, this Act provides time off with pay.  It also covers employees who have worked for as little as 30 days for the employer.  

Employers with fewer than 500 employees must provide up to 12 weeks of leave for employees who are unable to work (or telework) due to a need to care for their son or daughter who is under 18 years of age and whose school or place of care has been closed, or the child care provider is unavailable, due to the COVID-19 virus.  To qualify, an employee must provide notice as is practical.  

The initial 10 days of leave is unpaid (but see below). Thereafter, employers must pay not less than two-thirds (2/3) of the employees’ regular rate for the remaining ten (10) weeks—but limited to $200 per day.  Small businesses with fewer than 50 employees may be exempt from these requirements “when the imposition of such requirements would jeopardize the viability of the business.”

For employers with 25 or more employees, the employee is entitled to reinstatement to the same or equivalent position. Employers with fewer than 25 employees must make reasonable efforts to restore an employee to his or her previous position but may be exempt from reinstating the employee if such reasonable efforts fail and the economic or operating conditions of the employer have changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act

This Act provides pay for the first two (unpaid) weeks of leave under the Emergency Family Medical Leave Expansion Act.   Employees are immediately eligible; there is no 30 day waiting period.  Employers with fewer than 500 employees must provide two (2) weeks of paid sick time to employees who are unable to work (including telework) for one of the following six reasons.  The reasons break down into COVID-19 quarantine/sick related issues and providing care for someone impacted by COVID-19.

COVID-19 Quarantine/Sick Related Issues
1.  The employee is subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order relating to COVID-19;
2.  The employee has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to COVID-19;
3.  The employee has sought a medical diagnosis resulting from symptoms of COVID-19;

Providing Care for Someone Impacted by COVID-19
4. The employee is caring for an individual subject to a quarantine order;
5.  The employee is caring for the employee’s own child whose school is closed, or whose care provider is unavailable due to COVID-19; or
6. The employee is experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the Department of Health and Human Services.

For an employee absent under subsections (1), (2), and (3), compensation shall not be less than the employee’s regular rate but shall not exceed $511 per day.  The 2/3 pay maximum, as described in the Act above, does not apply here.   

For an employee absent under subsections (4), (5), and (6), compensation shall be no more than two-thirds of the employees’ normal pay and shall not exceed $200 per day.

 A full-time employee is entitled to 80 hours of paid sick time. A part-time employee is entitled to the number of hours worked on average over a two (2) week period. 

Employers may not require the employee to find a replacement worker. Employers may not require an employee to use other paid leave before using paid sick time under this Act.
 
The employer must post notice of its obligations under this Act in a conspicuous place on its premises.  The Secretary of Labor shall make available a model notice by March 25, 2020.

 

New York State Executive Order 202.8 Shuts Down Many Businesses

By Robert G. Brody and Mark J. Taglia

Executive Order 202.8
Effective Sunday, March 22, 2020 at 8:00 PM, New York State’s Executive Order 202.8 shut down many New York businesses in order to combat the spread of COVID-19.  The State also issued guidance on who is exempted from the law.  Here is what we know. 

As of 8:00 pm, Sunday March 22, 2020 through April 19, 2020:

  1. All businesses and not-for-profit entities need to utilize, to the maximum extent possible, any telecommuting or work from home procedures that they can safely use.
  2. Each employer shall reduce the in-person workforce at any of its work locations by 100%.
  3. Any “essential” business or entity providing essential services or functions shall not be subject to the in-person restrictions. Any business violating the above shall be subject to enforcement as if this were a violation of an order pursuant to section 12 of the Public Health Law (click here to be linked to section 12 of the New York State PHL).

For employers’ reference, the New York State Department of Economic Development has issued guidance on what exactly is considered essential services.   It has broken these services down into twelve (12) broad categories, as follows:

1.  Health care operations including research and laboratory services, hospitals, walk-in care health facilities, veterinary and animal health services, elder care, medical wholesale and distribution, home health care workers or aides, doctor and dentist offices, nursing homes, or residential health care facilities or congregate care facilities and medical supplies and equipment providers.
2.  Essential infrastructure including utilities like power generation, fuel supply and transmission; public water and wastewater; telecommunications and data centers; airports/airlines; transportation infrastructure such as bus, rail or for-hire vehicles and garages.
3.  Essential manufacturing including food processing, including all foods and beverages, chemicals, medical equipment/instruments, pharmaceuticals, safety and sanitary products, telecommunications, microelectronics/semi-conductor, agriculture/farms, paper products.
4.  Essential retail including grocery stores, all food and beverage stores, pharmacies, convenience stores, farmer’s markets, gas stations, restaurants/bars (only for takeout/delivery), hardware and building material stores.
5.  Essential services including trash and recycling collection, processing and disposal, mail and shipping services, laundromats/dry cleaning, building cleaning and maintenance, child care services, auto repair, warehouse/distribution and fulfillment, funeral homes, crematoriums and cemeteries, storage for essential businesses, animal shelters or animal care/ management.
6.  News media.
7.  Financial Institutions including banks, insurance, payroll and accounting.
8.  Providers of basic necessities to economically disadvantaged populations including homeless shelters and congregate care facilities, food banks, human services providers whose function includes the direct care of patients in state-licensed or funded voluntary programs; the care, protection, custody and oversight of individuals both in the community and in state-licensed residential facilities; those operating community shelters and other critical human services agencies providing direct care or support.
9.  Construction including skilled trades such as electricians, plumbers, other related construction firms and professionals for essential infrastructure or for emergency repair and safety purposes.
10.  Defense and national security-related operations supporting the U.S. government or a contractor to the U.S. government.
11.  Essential services necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation and essential operations of residences or other essential businesses including law enforcement, fire prevention and response, building code enforcement, security, emergency management and response, building cleaners or janitors, general maintenance whether employed by the entity directly or a vendor, automotive repair, disinfection and doormen.
12.  Vendors that provide essential services or products, including logistics and technology support, child care and services needed to ensure the continuing operation of government agencies and provide for the health, safety and welfare of the public including logistics, technology support, child care programs and services, government owned or leased buildings and essential government services.
 
Despite the length of this list, many employers are asking if they are covered.   In many cases we need to make an educated guess, but there is an alternative.  New York State has created a service which allows employers to ask the State for guidance on the essential nature of their business.  Beyond guidance, the State has already determined single person businesses are deemed essential and do not need to abide by this closure order.   Over time, we will have more guidance on the definition of “essential.” 
 
If you need help deciphering the definition of essential, need assistance in asking the State for guidance, or any other employment related issues pertaining to COVID-19, we stand ready to help. 

 

New Amendment to Mandatory Connecticut Unemployment Form

The Connecticut Department of Labor just amended the mandatory form every employer must deliver to its employees when they separate from the Company – regardless of the reason.   The key difference is when listing the reason for separation, a new category was added – Leave of Absence.   Given the number of employers who are using furloughs – a forced leave of absence with a promise of a return to work – this change is key and likely a reaction to the current COVID-19 pandemic.  The new form and the entire unemployment packet can be found here.

 

Emergency Relief Available for Your Business

The Federal government passed a stimulus package designed to put tens of thousands of dollars in your pocket. This package is designed to keep our economy going during this tragic time. You need to understand your options. The bare bones of three programs are below.

PAYCHECK PROTECTION PROGRAM
Under the recently passed CARES Act, you can borrow, through an SBA approved bank, a 100% forgivable loan equal to 250% of your average monthly payroll to cover payroll, rent, benefits, and certain interest payments. We believe practically all of our clients should do this. The money could be in your hands within the next few weeks.

SBA EMERGENCY LOANS
You can get a 30 year, 3.7% loan directly from the SBA for the amount of profit you expect to lose due to the COVID-19 pandemic. To induce you to apply, every applicant gets a $10,000 payment that is a non-repayable grant, even if you ultimately do not get the loan.

BRODY AND ASSOCIATES BUSINESS PREPAREDNESS PROGRAM (“BPP”)
We know you have many questions spawned by the pandemic and need answers economically. To help support you and your business, Brody and Associates created the Business Preparedness Program (“BPP”). Our BPP allows clients to purchase one to two hours of legal services per month at $315 per hour – almost 50% off my rate. Because we know you have so many questions, we will double the number of hours you purchase for the first month at no extra cost. BPP hours must be used within the month they are purchased. If you exceed your BPP hours, our standard rates apply.

 

Recommended Strategies to Help Curtail the Spread of COVID-19

By Robert G. Brody and Mark J. Taglia

The following strategies are for employers to help curtail the spread of COVID-19 and are based on recommendations made by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (the “CDC”) with an extra dose of practicality.

Actively Encourage Employees Who Might be Sick to Stay Home.

  • Make sure employees are aware of your sick leave policies and that your policies are consistent with current public health guidelines.
  • Expand sick leave to cover employees who are not sick but might be.
  • Employees who were sick should stay home until they are symptom free (including fever) for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever reducing medication.
  • Maintain flexible work policies to allow employees to stay home to care for sick family members.

Protecting Employees Who are at Work.

  • Send sick employees home once they begin to display acute respiratory symptoms (i.e. cough or shortness of breath). This should not be an option.
  • Encourage hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette (i.e. covering one’s mouth when they cough).
  • Provide tissues, alcohol based hand rubs, soap and water and remind employees where these facilities are located if you have provided new locations with hand cleaning supplies and the like. .
  • Display posters near the entrance to your offices and in break rooms encouraging hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette and staying home when employees are sick.

Perform Routine Cleaning.

  • Routinely clean all frequently touched surfaces in your offices.
  • Provide disposable wipes for employees to use to clean frequently used items they come into contact with throughout the day.
  • Arrange for regular deep cleaning if possible.

International Travel.

  • Check with the CDC’s Traveler Health Notices before any international travel. Avoid travel if at all possible.
  • Encourage employees to check themselves for any acute respiratory symptoms before traveling.
  • Have any employee who becomes sick while traveling seek healthcare assistance and notify their supervisor.
  • If any employee becomes sick oversees, the U.S. Consular Office can help locate healthcare services.

Additional Considerations.

  • Employees with sick housemates should notify their supervisor and refer to current CDC guidelines on how to conduct a self-risk assessment.
  • Lastly, if you do have an employee who tests positive for COVID-19, you must inform fellow employees of any possible exposure. However, you must maintain the confidentiality of the infected employee as required under the Americans with Disabilities Act (the “ADA”).

Planning for the Pandemic

Based on current forecasts, the full impact of the pandemic has yet to hit the U.S.  It is important as a prudent employer to plan ahead.  The following are some items to keep in mind when planning:

  • Consider how to prevent and limit spread within your office while maintaining business operations (remote operations are best).
  • Plan for potential high absenteeism due to illness of employees and their family members.
  • Prepare for school closures and how that will impact your business.
  • Inform employees that some individuals are at greater risk than others for contracting the disease (including older employees and those with chronic medical conditions).
  • Identify essential job functions within your organization and cross train personnel to perform those functions.
  • For businesses with multiple locations, assess the similarities and differences of each office to determine how to best utilize the resources you have should some of your operations be closed.
  • Ensure your response plan is flexible and involve your employees in its design process to limit any gaps. Remember, inclusion will give extra comfort to your team as they will see firsthand you are planning to protect everyone and the business.
  • Share your plan in advance with your employees.
  • Consider sharing your plan with other businesses and organizations in your area who may not have planned ahead.

Final Recommendations

Now is a good time to review your HR policies and Employee Handbooks to make sure your policies are consistent with current public health recommendations, state and federal laws.

The CDC, Department of Labor, and Equal Opportunity Commission are excellent resources for employers to use to stay up to date with the latest on the Coronavirus and its impact on businesses.

Next week, in part two of our series, we will be looking at specific laws employers should know when dealing with employees during the coronavirus pandemic.

 

 State Of Connecticut Executive Order 7H “Stay Safe, Stay Home” Campaign Shuts Down Many Businesses

By Robert G. Brody and Mark J. Taglia

It’s been over a week in Connecticut since many business have had to close their doors.  Let’s see where we are.  Effective Monday, March 23, 2020 at 8:00 PM, the State of Connecticut’s Executive Order 7H shut down many Connecticut businesses in an effort to combat the spread of COVID-19.  The State also issued guidance on who is exempted from the law.  Here is what we know. 

As of 8:00 pm, Monday March 23, 2020:

  1. All businesses and not-for-profit entities need to utilize, to the maximum extent possible, any telecommuting or work from home procedures that they can safely use.
  2. Each employer shall reduce the in-person workforce at any of its work locations by 100%.
  3. Any “essential” business or entity providing essential services or functions shall not be subject to the in-person restrictions. However, individuals working at these locations whose duties are not critical to an essential business function should work from home.

The Executive Order is in effect until April 22, 2020.

To assist employers in defining essential services, the Department of Economic and Community Development (the “DECD”) has issued comprehensive guidance. The text issued by DECD follows:

DECD GUIDANCE ON ESSENTIAL BUSINESSES

DECD’s guidance on essential businesses is as follows:

With respect to non-essential businesses and nonprofits, this guidance applies to each business location individually and is intended to assist businesses in determining whether they are an essential business and the steps they may take to request that designation.  

The guidelines set forth here apply to places of business. Non-essential businesses may continue activities that are conducted off-site (e.g. a customer’s home) and/or by telecommuting or working from home. 

Pursuant to the Governor’s Executive Order 7J, issued on March 22, 2020, 1) non-essential retailers may be staffed on-site, provided that they may only offer remote ordering (e.g. phone, internet, mail, dropbox) and curb-side pick-up or delivery and 2) non-essential businesses and nonprofits to allow staff or third parties on site to the minimum extent necessary to provide security, maintenance and receipt of mail and packages. This includes, but is not limited to, auto, boat, bicycle, recreational vehicle, and all other vehicle sales, if conducted remotely. 

To the extent possible, employees of Essential Businesses whose duties are not critical to an Essential Business function described below should telecommute or utilize any work from home procedures available to them.  

Critical Infrastructure Sectors

Essential workers in the 16 critical infrastructure sectors defined by the federal Department of Homeland Security.  You can read more on the Department of Homeland Security’s site here.

  • Healthcare/Public Health
  • Emergency Services – Law Enforcement, Public Safety, First Responders
  • Food and Agriculture
  • Nuclear Reactors, Materials & Waste
  • Energy
  • Water and Wastewater
  • Transportation and Logistics
  • Other Community-Based Government Operations and Essential Functions
  • Critical Manufacturing
  • Financial Services
  • Chemical
  • Defense Industrial Base
  • Communications
  • Information Technology
  • Dams
  • Commercial Facilities

Healthcare and related operations

  • biotechnology therapies
  • consumer health products and services
  • doctor and dentist offices
  • elder care, including adult day care
  • health care plans and health care data
  • home health care workers or aides
  • hospitals
  • manufacturing, distributing, warehousing, and supplying of pharmaceuticals, including research and development
  • medical marijuana dispensaries and producers
  • medical supplies and equipment providers, including devices, diagnostics, services, and any other healthcare related supplies or services
  • medical wholesale and distribution
  • nursing homes, or residential health care facilities or congregate care facilities
  • pharmacies
  • physical therapy and chiropractic offices
  • research and laboratory services, including testing and treatment of COVID-19
  • veterinary and animal health services
  • walk-in-care facilities

Infrastructure

  • airports/airlines
  • commercial trucking
  • dam maintenance and support
  • education-related functions at the primary, secondary or higher education level to provide support for students, including distribution of meal or faculty conducting e-learning
  • hotels and other places of accommodation
  • water and wastewater operations, systems and businesses
  • telecommunications and data centers
  • transportation infrastructure including bus, rail, for-hire vehicles and vehicle rentals, and garages
  • utilities including power generation, fuel supply, and transmission

Manufacturing

All manufacturing and corresponding supply chains, including aerospace, agriculture and related support businesses

Retail

  • appliances, electronics, computers and telecom equipment
  • big-box stores or wholesale clubs, provided they also sell groceries, consumer health products, or operate a pharmacy
  • convenience stores
  • gas stations
  • grocery stores including all food and beverage retailers
  • guns and ammunition
  • hardware, paint, and building material stores, including home appliance sales/repair
  • liquor/package stores and manufacturer permittees
  • pharmacies
  • pet and pet supply stores

Food and Agriculture

  • farms and farmer’s markets
  • food manufacturing, processing, storage, and distribution facilities
  • nurseries, garden centers and agriculture supply stores
  • restaurants/bars (provided compliance with all applicable executive orders is maintained)

Services

  • accounting and payroll services
  • animal shelters or animal care or management, including boarding, grooming, pet walking and pet sitting 
  • auto supply, repair, towing, and service, including roadside assistance
  • bicycle repair and service
  • building cleaning and maintenance
  • child care services
  • critical operations support for financial institutions
  • financial advisors
  • financial institutions, including banks, credit unions, and check cashing services
  • funeral homes, crematoriums, and cemeteries
  • insurance companies
  • laundromats/dry cleaning
  • legal and accounting services
  • mail and shipping services
  • marinas and marine repair and service
  • news and media
  • real estate transactions and related services, including residential leasing and renting
  • religious services (subject to Executive Order 7D limiting gatherings to 50 people)
  • storage for Essential Businesses
  • trash and recycling collection, hauling, and processing
  • warehouse/distribution, shipping, and fulfillment

Providers of Basic Necessities to Disadvantaged Populations

  • food banks
  • homeless shelters and congregate care facilities
  • human services providers whose function includes the direct care of patients in state-licensed or funded voluntary programs; the care, protection, custody and oversight of individuals both in the community and in state-licensed residential facilities; those operating community shelters and other critical human services agencies providing direct care or support social service agencies

Construction

  • all skilled trades such as electricians, HVAC, and plumbers 
  • general construction, both commercial and residential
  • other related construction firms and professionals for essential infrastructure or for emergency repair and safety purposes
  • planning, engineering, design, bridge inspection, and other construction support activities

Safety and Sanitation Services

  • building cleaners or janitors
  • building code enforcement
  • disinfection
  • doormen
  • emergency management and response
  • fire prevention and response
  • general maintenance whether employed by the entity directly or a vendor
  • home-related services, including real estate transactions, closings, appraisals, and moving services
  • landscaping services
  • law enforcement
  • outdoor maintenance, including pool service
  • pest control services
  • security and maintenance, including steps reasonably necessary to secure and maintain non-essential businesses
  • state marshals

Essential Service Vendors

Vendors that provide essential services or products, including logistics and technology support, child care, and services needed to ensure the continuing operation of government agencies and provide for the health, safety and welfare of the public including:

  • billboard leasing and maintenance
  • child care services
  • essential government services
  • government owned or leased buildings
  • information technology and information security
  • logistics
  • technology support

Defense

  • defense and national security-related business and operations supporting the U.S. Government or a contractor to the US government

Requesting Designation

If the function of your business is not listed above, but you believe that it is essential or it is an entity providing essential services or functions, you may request designation as an Essential Business.

Requests by businesses to be designated an essential function as described above, should ONLY be made if they are NOT covered by the guidance.

Restrictions on requesting designation as an Essential Business:

Any business that only has a single occupant/employee (e.g. attendant) is deemed exempt and need not submit a request to be designated as an Essential Business.

*                                                          *                                                          *

Despite the length of this list, many employers are asking if they are covered.   In many cases we need to make an educated guess, but there is an alternative.  As mentioned at the end of the legislation, like New York, Connecticut has created a service which allows employers to ask the State for guidance on the essential nature of their business (see link above).  Additionally, the Governor has already issued a clarifying order for retailers (Executive Order 7J), which allows non-essential retailers to take orders remotely and sell products for curbside pickup and delivery, and allows other nonessential businesses to allow the minimum staff necessary on site to handle security, maintenance, mail, and other essential services

To help businesses in Connecticut navigate the COVID-19 crisis, DECD has established the COVID-19 Business Emergency Response Unit reachable at (860) 500-2333.

 

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act: $2.4 Trillion Aid Package to Help Combat COVID-19’s Financial Impact

By Robert G. Brody and Mark J. Taglia

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which President Trump signed into law on March 28, 2020, is a wide-ranging economic rescue package for individuals and businesses.

The CARES Act provides, among other things, direct monetary payments to individuals, help for the unemployed (including freelancers and gig workers), and support for small businesses.  The following is a brief summary of some of the key benefits employers should know.

Direct Monetary Payments to Individuals and Families
The IRS will send direct payments to families of up to $1,200 for individuals, $2,400 for couples, and $500 per child.

Single taxpayers with an adjusted gross income up to $75,000 will receive $1,200 in direct payments and joint filers with an adjusted gross income up to $150,000 will receive $2,400.  As such individuals’ income increases, these benefits will decreases until eliminated for those individuals making more than $99,000 and $198,000 respectively.  The IRS will use individuals 2019 tax filings to determine eligibility.

Help for Unemployed Individuals, Freelancers, and Gig Workers

The CARES Act provides increased unemployment benefits in two primary ways:  
  • First, unemployed individuals eligible for state unemployment insurance will receive  an additional $600 per week in federal aid for their first four months of unemployment.
  • Second, non-traditional employees, often referred to as “gig” workers and Freelancers, as well as individuals not able to work because of COVID-19, will be eligible to receive unemployment insurance.  These workers will be entitled to receive half of their state’s average weekly unemployment benefit, plus the additional $600 federal benefit referenced above; provided their unemployment was related to COVID-19.

Small Businesses and Small Business Administration (the “SBA”) Loans
The CARES Act provides for $349 billion for SBA loan guarantees, which loans can be forgiven in an amount equal to the amount spent by a borrower, if the money is used for payroll support including employee salaries, paid sick and medical leave, health insurance premiums, mortgage, rent, utility payments, etc.   This section of the Act is referred to as the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).  Under the Act, self-employed individuals, including, sole-proprietors and independent contractors are also eligible for loans.    Brody and Associates will be publishing a new article specifically designed for clients looking to take advantage of the Paycheck Protection Program.

Additionally, the CARES Act provides for billions more in SBA emergency loans and grants through the emergency Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) and emergency Economic Injury Grants.

These grants, up to $10,000, are advances against the EIDL  and do not need to be paid back, even if the borrower ultimately does not qualify for the underlying loan.  This grant is designed to give immediate relief for small businesses to cover operating costs. 

Meanwhile, the rates on EIDL are very favorable with an interest rate of just 3.75% (2.75% for non-profits) and a loan repayment term of up to 30 years.  Brody and Associates will be publishing a new article specifically designed for clients looking to take advantage of Emergency Economic Injury Disaster Loan program.

Employee Retention Tax Credit
A big win for employers in the CARES Act is a refundable payroll tax credit equal to 50% of the wages paid by eligible employers to employees made during the COVID-19 crisis.  To utilize this benefit, employers are not permitted to receive any SBA payroll support loans.  The tax credit is limited to the first $10,000 of compensation paid to an eligible employee, including health benefits.

An employer’s eligibility is conditioned upon its operations being actually impacted by COVID-19.

For eligible employers with up to 100 full-time employees, all wages qualify for the credit, whether the employer is open for business or subject to a shut-down order. 

However, for employers with more than 100 full-time employees, not all wages will qualify.  For those employers, qualified wages are limited to the wages paid to employees when they are not providing services due to the COVID-19-related circumstances described above.

Delay of Payment of Employer Payroll Taxes
CARES gives employers the option to postpone the payment of the employers share of payroll taxes, provided any deferred payment is paid over the following two years
 
We have only highlighted the relevant sections of the CARES Act we think are most relevant to our readers.  Please click here for a link to the actual law to learn more about its details and other benefits not covered here.

The CARES Act has just been released and there is much still to learn about its applications and its practical impact.  We suggest you seek qualified counsel to help guide you.  Brody and Associates is here to assist.

 

INTERVIEWS

On March 27, 2020, Brody and Associates participated in a Zoom conference on Unemployment Laws and Benefits to the Fairfield County Medical Association and Hartford County Medical Association.  Click here to listen to the webinar.  

 

LINKS TO PRIMARY SOURCES ON COVID-19

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 

National Institutes of Health (NIH) 

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

Federal Legislation

Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)

FAQ’s about the FFCRA 

New Amendment to Connecticut Unemployment 

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

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)