Resources for Businesses
Posted March 31
3/30 Webinar Recording: “A Coronavirus Conversation: Survive Today, Thrive Tomorrow”
Here’s a link to the disaster loan advance. Just came out this morning. It’s an easy form to fill out and businesses are supposed to get a reply within three days.
This is the link to the PA.Gov Unemployment COVID site. You will see that the notice is they will be updating regularly as information becomes available for independent contractors to apply for and receive unemployment.
Also, here is a link to the application for SBA Disaster Relief Advance.
Resources from Kyong Growney:
Below is the link to the U.S. Department of Labor website which contains Fact Sheets, Questions and Answers, Posters, and Field Assistance Bulletin relating to COVID-19 and the workplace: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic
Below is the link to the PA Department of Labor and Industry UC Office website on COVID-19 Guidance and Resources: https://www.uc.pa.gov/COVID-19/Pages/default.aspx
Also, after further review, it is not clear whether owners of certain corporate entities are eligible for unemployment compensation benefits under the CARES Act. Hopefully, guidance and/or regulations will be issued shortly on this. In the meantime, corporate owners can certainly apply and let the PA UC office determine their eligibility.
Courtesy of Patriot Benefits:
The federal government on Friday March 27, 2020 passed the third and most comprehensive Coronvirus related law and there is a clear indication that additional laws and relief packages will be enacted in weeks to come. The law known as the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) is enacted to provide relief and aid related to the COVID-19 pandemic and includes economic and health coverage provisions for individuals and employers. In addition to financial support for employers and individuals, the law also provides free COVID-19 testing which will be covered by your insurance company.
While we are not lawyers or financial advisors and this information does not constitute legal or financial advice, the CARES Act clearly has several provisions by way of tax credits and various forgivable loans that can help you pay for vital expenses such as salaries, rent, mortgage, utilities, and health insurance. In this time of trouble, it is a testament to you that so many have reached out to ask if employees can remain covered even if those employees are temporarily laid off or furloughed. The answer is yes, the health insurance carriers have relaxed their eligibility rules so that employees who are temporarily laid off or furloughed can in fact retain their health insurance coverage. The last thing anybody wants is for anyone to lose their health insurance at a time when they need it more than ever.
The CARES Act is now being reviewed by the Department of Labor (DOL) who will soon issue official guidance and ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ (FAQ’s) so you know how to access available financial resources. Once official guidance has been issued by the Department of Labor please reach out to your accountant, financial advisor and/or legal counsel to discuss which tax credits and/or loans are best suited for your specific situation. That financial access information will soon be available at the IRS Tax Relief and DOL links further below. In the meantime, here is a summary of key provisions that should be especially pertinent to you and your employees:
Employee Retention Credit for Employers
The law provides a refundable payroll tax credit for 50 percent of wages paid by employers to employees during the COVID-19 crisis. The credit is available to employers whose operations were fully or partially suspended, due to a COVID-19-related shutdown order, or whose gross receipts declined by more than 50 percent when compared to the same quarter in the prior year. The credit is based on qualified wages paid to the employee. For employers with greater than 100 full-time employees, qualified wages are wages paid to employees when they are not providing services due to the COVID-19-related circumstances. For employers with 100 or fewer full-time employees, all employee wages qualify for the credit, whether the employer is open for business or subject to a shut-down order. The credit is provided for the first $10,000 of compensation, including health benefits, paid to an eligible employee. The credit is provided for wages paid or incurred from March 13 through December 31, 2020. The credit ends when the business revenue rises to at least 80% of what the business made in a comparable quarter of the prior year.
Paycheck Protection Program
The law creates a new 8-week program for companies with fewer than 500 employees to retain workers during the economic crisis and provides for up to 250% of the monthly payroll for employers to maintain payroll. The loan amount is limited to $100,000 annualized per employee and employers cannot cut employees’ pay more than 25%. This program is retroactive to February 15, 2020, to help bring workers who may have already been laid-off back onto payrolls. Covered loans can be used for payroll support, such as employee salaries or commissions, paid sick or medical leave, insurance premiums, and mortgage payments, rent, utilities, and interest on any other debt obligations incurred before the covered period. The borrower is eligible for loan forgiveness equal to the amount spent by the borrower. The Small Business Administration must enact the program with regulations within 15 days after the Act became law.
Emergency Economic Injury Disaster Loans
Another program for small and mid-sized businesses, including sole proprietors, creates an emergency loan program from the Small Business Administration (SBA) to ensure cash flow. It provides an emergency loan of up to $10,000 to be available within three days of application. Forgiveness is available if the loan is used to fund payroll, paid sick leave, interest on mortgage obligations, rent, and utilities, or other debt.
Delay of Payment of Payroll Taxes
Employers can delay payment of their 2020 payroll taxes until 2021 and 2022. Half of the 2020 payments will be due in 2021, and the other half due in 2022.
Recovery Rebates for Individuals
The measure provides for direct tax rebates to be sent to many Americans in the next few weeks. Each qualified adult will get $1,200 ($2,400 for married couples). Each eligible household will also receive $500 per child. The full rebate amount is available for those with adjusted incomes at or below $75,000 for individuals and $150,000 for married couples. The credit then begins to phase out and is capped at individuals with incomes above $99,000 and married couples with incomes above $198,000.
Pandemic Unemployment Insurance
The new law expands existing state-level unemployment insurance benefits for people affected by the COVID-19 economic downturn by adding a $600 per week increase to people’s existing state-level benefits through the end of July and for those who need it, an additional 13 weeks of benefits beyond what states typically allow. Self-employed and independent contractors, like gig workers and Uber drivers, are eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. It also covers workers laid off from churches and religious institutions who may not typically qualify for a state’s program. People who can telework with pay or are receiving paid leave benefits do not qualify.
Official Links to CARES Act:
- Official CARES Act Law Text – https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/748/text
- DOL CARES Act guidance – Will be provided when released
- DOL CARES Act FAQ’s – Will be provided when released
In addition, the federal government passed a prior law on March 18, 2020 known as the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) which is effective April 1, 2020. This law requires most employers with less than 500 employees to provide actively working employees with paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19 and include wages and health insurance premiums, with the cost of doing so being 100% reimbursable via a tax credit. We highly encourage you to review the DOL FFCRA Employer FAQ link below and seek interpretation from your financial advisor or legal counsel.
Official Links to FFCRA:
- Official FFCRA Law Text – https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/6201/text
- DOL FFCRA Employer guidance – https://www.dl.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-employer-paid-leave
- DOL FFCRA Employer FAQ’s – https://www.dl.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-questions
- DOL FFCRA Employee guidance: https://www.dl.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-employee-paid-leave
- IRS FFCRA Guidance: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/treasury-irs-and-labor-announce-plan-to-implement-coronavirus-related-paid-leave-for-workers-and-tax-credits-for-small-and-midsize-businesses-to-swiftly-recover-the-cost-of-providing-coronavirus
Last, the first Corona Virus related law was passed on March 6, 2020 and is known as the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020. This law provides emergency funding for federal agencies to respond to the Coronavirus outbreak as well as other provisions.
Other Important Government Links:
- IRS Tax Relief Guidance: https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus
- Small Business Administration: ttps://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/disaster-assistance (details on the Payroll protection and employee retention credit programs will soon be made available)
- US Government: https://www.usa.gov/coronavirus
- PA Department of health Business information: https://dced.pa.gov/resources/
- PA Department of health Covid-19 information: https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/disease/Pages/Coronavirus.aspx
- CDC Business response: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/guidance-business-response.html
- CDC Covid-19 information: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
- Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) COVID-19 guidance: https://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/wysk/wysk_ada_rehabilitaion_act_coronavirus.cfm
Insurance carrier links: (as noted in our prior updates we highly encourage your employees to register at their respective carrier webites)
- Aetna: https://www.aetna.com/individuals-families/member-rights-resources/need-to-know-coronavirus.html
- Capital Blue Cross: https://www.capbluecross.com/wps/portal/cap/home/explore/resource/coronavirus
- Geisinger: https://www.geisinger.org/coronavirus
- Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield: https://faqs.discoverhighmark.com/?cm_re=Highmarkblueshield-_-Bottom%20E-spot%20Row-_-Hero-1
- Independence Blue Cross/Keystone Health Plan East:
- Member Covid-19 resources – https://www.ibx.com/htdocs/custom/covid19/index.html
- Member telehealth registration – https://members.mdlive.com/ibx/landing_home
- United Healthcare: https://www.uhc.com/health-and-wellness/health-topics/covid-1
While we are not employment lawyers or financial advisors and the above information is not intended to provide legal or financial advice, we hope the information is helpful to you and your employees as we get through this health and financial crisis. We encourage you to follow the above IRS Tax Relief Guidance page with your tax professional or financial advisor once specific guidance has been released.
Posted March 30
Resources from State Rep. Craig Staats: Unemployment Compensation, Waivers for Life-Sustaining Businesses, State Financing Programs
Posted March 25
Posted March 24
Posted March 22, 2020
Posted March 20, 2020
Now Available Online: Disaster Loan Assistance
Federal Disaster Loans for Businesses, Private Nonprofits, Homeowners, and Renters: https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/
If applying for Coronavirus (COVID-19) disaster declarations, please only select Economic Injury when inquiring about your business losses.
UBCC is asking all businesses to complete this short survey to help them gather data about what is happening in the business community so they can develop appropriate planning measures.
Posted March 19, 2020
This information is provided courtesy of our friends at the Upper Bucks Chamber of Commerce:
If you have been, or expect to be financially impacted, you may want to be proactive in contacting your bank(s), lender(s) and supplier(s) to determine what steps can be taken to mitigate the impact. If your business has an existing SBA 7(a) loan, 504 loan or Microloan, please contact your lender to discuss your options. You may also contact your insurance company to determine if your business insurance will cover any losses due to the current emergency and steps you would need to take to file a claim.
- Small Business Administration: Each state’s governor, including the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, has the option to apply to the federal government to declare Pennsylvania counties eligible for SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL). Once a declaration is made, businesses can apply online at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.
- To prepare for the online application, businesses are encouraged to review the SBA Disaster Business Loan Application paper forms at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/Information/PaperForms.
- DCED offers working capital loans that could be of assistance to businesses impacted by COVID-19. Resources and information will be posted when they become available to https://dced.pa.gov/resources/
- If your business has been affected, you may email the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development Business One-stop Shop information regarding your status to firstname.lastname@example.org, using the form “ESTIMATED DISASTER ECONOMIC INJURY WORKSHEET.” Pennsylvania Business One-Stop Shop can be reached at 1-833-722-6778, Option 0 or online at https://business.pa.gov/.
- CDC issued new guidance recommending that for the next 8 weeks, organizers should consider canceling or postponing in-person events that consist of 50 people or more throughout the US:
- CDC Business Response- Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers
- PA Chamber business resources: https://www.pachamber.org/coronavirus/
- The US Chamber has also launched a Coronavirus Response Toolkit: https://www.uschamber.com/coronavirus-response-toolkit
- Lehigh University Small Business Development Center: https://sbdc.lehigh.edu/