GUIDANCE AND UPDATES FOR EMPLOYERS DURING THE CORONAVIRUS EMERGENCY

 

As information becomes available related to the COVID-19 Coronavirus outbreak, Worksite is committed to providing our clients with information to help you manage your operations during this challenging time. Below find relevant UPDATES, some GENERAL ADVICE, and FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

UPDATES

4/16/2020

Florida Governor, Ron Desantis, suspended bi-weekly “actively seeking work” reporting requirements for unemployment claimants.  This suspension is on an emergency temporary basis as needed to respond to the spread of COVID-19.

4/15/2020

IRS launches website with stimulus check information

Economic Income Payment (Stimulus) checks are available to Americans who make up to $99,000, or $198,000 for married couples. They max out at $1,200 per person, with an additional $500 for children under 17, and begin to reduce in amount after incomes of $75,000 per person, or $150,000 for couples. Americans do not need to do anything if filed taxes in 2018 or 2019 and had their refunds direct deposited.

The IRS has launched the following website to assist with any questions or information:

https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/economic-impact-payments

The new IRS website allows Americans to check the status of their cash payment by inputting their Social Security number, date of birth and mailing address.

For those that didn’t file taxes in 2018 or 2019 or provide their direct deposit information, the IRS also released an online form that allows Americans to upload their bank account information so they can get their coronavirus stimulus payments quickly. The form can be accessed through the above link.

 

4/10/2020

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity has released a new mobile-friendly site for Floridians to apply for reemployment assistance.

The DEO is encouraging anyone who has not filed an application should use this new mobile-friendly site.

The following information is asked if you are submitting an application:

  • Social Security number
  • Driver’s License or State ID number
  • Employment information for the last 18 months for each employer
  • Employer ID (You can find this on your W2 or 1099 tax form)
  • Employer Name, address, phone number
  • First and last day of work
  • Gross earnings for the last 18 months
  • Reason for separation
  • If you are not a U.S. Citizen you will be asked for a registration number or other work authorization form
  • A military employee should copy their DD-214 Member 4 or a copy of Member 2-7
  • A federal employee should use SF-8 or SF-50
  • A Union member should list a Union name, hall number, and phone number.

The link to the website can be found here.

If still experiencing issues, please see information on paper applications.

 

4/8/2020

Florida Reemployment Assistance Paper Application

Click here for English    |    Click here for Spanish   |   Click here for Creole

Please note that paper applications could potentially take longer to process than completing an online application.

Mail completed applications to:

Florida Department of Economic Opportunity
P.O. Box 5350
Tallahassee, FL 32314-5350

 

4/3/2020

CDC on Homemade Cloth Face Coverings

CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.

CDC also advises the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others.  Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure.

Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.

The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators.  Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.

 

4/1/2020

Florida Governor DeSantis issues “Safer At Home” Order

On April 1, 2020, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis issued Executive Order Number 20-91 to “ensure that the spread of COVID-19 is lowered, and that residents and visitors in Florida remain safe and secure.”  The Executive Order issues a Safer At Home statement and defines essential services and essential activities. Executive Order 20-92 amends Section 4 of Executive Order 20-91 to state that the order supersedes any conflicting official action or order issued by local officials in response to COVID-19, and otherwise ratifies and reaffirms Executive Order 20-91. The Executive Order becomes effective 12:01 a.m. on April 3, 2020, and expires on April 30, 2020, unless extended by subsequent order.

To read more, please click the link below:

https://www.flgov.com/wp-content/uploads/orders/2020/EO_20-91.pdf

 

3/20/2020:

Under a new executive order, governor Gov. Ron DeSantis announced that licensed restaurants and food establishments must “suspend on-premises food consumption for customers.” Owners may keep kitchens open for takeout and delivery.

Gyms and fitness centers are also to be closed under the new order.

Broward, Palm Beach, and Miami-Dade counties have been ordered to close all movie theatres, concert houses, auditoriums, playhouses, bowling alleys, arcades, gymnasiums, fitness studios, and beaches.

 

3/19/2020:

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act became law. This new law went into effect on April 1, 2020 and applies to all employers with 500 employees or less. Below are some of the key points that we feel may impact your business:

Amendments to Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (FMLA)

  • Eligible employees are those who have been employed for at least 30 calendar days by the employer with respect to whom leave is requested.
  • Employers will be required to offer 12 weeks of paid family leave for employees who have been employed for at least 30 days with a minor child in the event of the closure of the child’s school or place of care. The first 10 days are unpaid, but the employee can overlap this with the 10 days of paid sick leave.
  • The paid leave benefit can be no more than $200 per day and an aggregate amount of $10,000. The paid family leave credit offsets 100% of employer costs for providing mandated paid family leave.

Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act

Employers will provide paid sick time if the employee is unable to work (or telework) due to:

  • The employee being quarantined or isolated by the order of federal or state authority.
  • The employee has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine.
  • The employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID–19 and is seeking a medical diagnosis.
  • The employee is caring for an individual who is subject to the order as described above.
  • The employee is caring for a child if the school or place of care of the child has been closed or the childcare provider of the child is unavailable.
  • Full-time employees will be entitled to up to 80 hours of paid sick leave.
  • Part-time employees will be entitled to their average number of hours worked over a two-week period.
  • Employers must offer two weeks (10 days) of paid sick leave for COVID-19-related reasons. If the sick leave is for an employee who is sick or seeking a diagnosis, the benefit must replace all the employee’s wages up to a maximum benefit of $511 per day.
  • If an employee is caring for another individual who is sick, the benefit must replace at least two-thirds of the employee’s wages up to a maximum benefit of $200 per day.
  • The paid sick leave credit offsets 100% of employer costs for providing mandated paid sick leave. The credit also offsets, uncapped, the employer contribution for health insurance premiums for the employee for the period of leave.
  • The credit also offsets, uncapped, the employer contribution for health insurance premiums for the employee for the period of leave.
  • Self-employed individuals will be provided refundable income tax credits in an amount of what self-employed workers would have received if they had been an employee receiving paid leave benefits pursuant to the mandates. For any given day that a self-employed worker could not work, they can claim a “rough justice” tax credit in the amount of their average daily self-employment income for the year.

This law will be in effect until December 31, 2020. Please contact HR@WorksiteEmployee.com with any questions you may have.

Closures, Furloughs, and Reduced Schedules

As stated above, the FFCRA became effective April 1, 2020. The DOL guidance provides that if an employer closed its business prior to April 1 – whether for lack of business or pursuant to a mandatory government directive – employees are not eligible for leave under the FFCRA.

The guidance provides a number of scenarios that make clear that if the employer has no work for the employee, the employee is not entitled to FFCRA leave. For example, employers that remain open but furlough employees on or after April 1 because they do not have enough work or business for the employees, do not need to provide furloughed employees leave through the FFCRA. Similarly, employers who close worksites on or after April 1 but tell employees that they will reopen in the future do not need to provide FFCRA leave while the worksite is closed. If the employer reopens and employees resume work, employees are then eligible for leave under the FFCRA moving forward.

In addition, if an employer reduces an employee’s work hours because it does not have work for the employee to perform, the employee may not receive paid leave under the FFCRA for hours they are no longer scheduled to work, even if the reduction in hours was coronavirus-related.

However, should an employer engage in furloughs or reducing hours while employees are on, or have taken, FFCRA leave, employers must pay for any FFCRA leave taken by those employees up through the date of the event that thereafter renders the employees ineligible for such leave.

 

3/17/2020:

Florida created the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program to provide $50,000 loans with no interest for a year to small business owners in Florida that have experienced economic damage as a result of COVID-19.  More information can be found at www.FloridaDisasterLoan.org

 

3/17/2020:

Governor Ron DeSantis announced that restaurants in Florida will stay open with some limitations in response to COVID-19. Restaurants will continue to operate at fifty-percent capacity to allow for the recommended six-foot separation between groups to support social distancing. He also encouraged Floridians to utilize take out and delivery services, while requiring restaurants to screen employees and prohibit entry for any employees displaying symptoms of the illness. Governor DeSantis also announced that bars and nightclubs in Florida will be suspended for thirty days beginning at 5:00 p.m. today.

 

FLORIDA SMALL BUSINESS EMERGENCY BRIDGE LOAN PROGRAM

The Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program is currently available to small business owners located in all Florida counties statewide that experienced economic damage as a result of COVID-19. For more information or to apply for a loan under this program, visit these websites:

https://www.sba.gov/
https://floridadisasterloan.org/

FL Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program Update

As of April 14, 2020, the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program had maxed out allotted funds.  38,000 small businesses applied for the loan and 1,000 were approved for the available funds.

State legislators are petitioning the governor to pump an additional $450 million into the bridge loan program so more small businesses can benefit.

Meanwhile, the Florida Small Business Development Center is offering certified consultants and disaster specialists at no-cost to help the 37,000 applicants who did not receive the bridge loan gain access and secure the vital federal disaster resources available to them.

 

GENERAL ADVICE

We know you are concerned about the well-being of your employees and they may be anxious and fearful about contracting the virus and losing pay for time off. Along with notifying your employees about what precautions you are taking and how employees can stop the spread of germs in the workplace, the following tips may help reduce employee fears.

  • Communicate frequently. Giving periodic updates lets employees know the employer is staying on top of things and up to date on developments.
  • Provide information on what COVID-19 is. Knowledge is power, and employees may be feeling a bit powerless against the virus. Use information from the CDC, WHO and other local authorities.
  • Empathize and listen. No one is going to feel better by being told they are irrational, or by having their concerns ignored. Let employees know their concerns are normal and the employer wants to hear them.
  • Make it easy for sick or exposed employees to stay home. Some stringent absenteeism policies (such as no-fault point policies) might also discourage them from staying home. Do what you can to alleviate these fears by temporarily adjusting policies where possible.
  • Remind employees about available benefits. Remind employees they have access to free counseling resources available through Worksite’s Employee Assistance Program by calling 800-899-3926. This can help them cope with the stress they may be experiencing.
  • Be as generous as possible. Not every employee request can be honored but relaxing some normal practices and policies may do a lot to ease nerves.
  • Be creative. This may be the time to consider flexible scheduling, alternative workweeks, staggered shifts or rotating telecommuting weeks among staff to reduce the number of employees at the workplace at one time.

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What if I have to close down my operation?

The following information is provided in the event you must make the tough decision to close down or reduce staff:

Layoffs

If you are experiencing a closure or work reduction that is not temporary, you should complete an Employee Separation Form and select “Layoff” due to position elimination or lack of work. This will terminate their employment.

If an employee has medical benefits through Worksite, those benefits will remain in effect through the end of the month in which they were terminated. If an employee is “rehired” within 30 days of their termination, benefits can be immediately reinstated. If they are “rehired” after 30 days of termination, they must wait to enroll in benefits based on your organization’s eligibility criteria (as if they were a new hire).

Leave of Absence

If your business closure or work reduction is expected to be temporary, and you hope to resume normal operations when restrictions are lifted, you can place employees in a “Leave of Absence” status while you await re-opening. The employee would not be actively working, but they are still considered employed. You can decide if you would like the Leave of Absence to be paid or unpaid.

If an employee has medical benefits through Worksite and is on an unpaid Leave of Absence, their benefit premiums will go into arrears while they do not receive pay. As the employer, you would be responsible for payment of premiums and can either

  1. Request payment directly from the employee while on leave, or
  2. Work out a payment schedule with the employee to catch up on the arrears when they return to work.

Worksite can assist clients with repayment of benefit premiums through payroll.

Unemployment

If your employees have lost their job or are experiencing reduced pay (as with a Leave of Absence), they may apply for unemployment benefits. Follow the links below for detailed information you can share with employees about how to apply for unemployment benefits.

DEO Connect – New Claim Instructions
DEO Reemployment Assistance COVID-19 FAQs

Communication Needed from Clients

If you are laying off or terminating an employee, follow normal separation procedures by completing a Separation Form and selecting the appropriate reason for separation. If you would like to place someone on a Leave of Absence, communicate with your Payroll Processor. Let them know who you would like to move to Leave of Absence status and the effective date for the status change. Stay in communication with your Payroll Processor and don’t forget to notify us when you are expecting the employee to return from leave.  Separation Forms and other forms can be found in the Resources section of our website: https://www.worksiteemployee.com/

Notifications to Employees

All employees with an inactive status will receive a letter from Worksite explaining that they will not have Workers’ Compensation coverage through Worksite until they regain Active status.

Are we required to continue to pay any employee if shut down?

Typically, if non-exempt, no.  You can require employees to use any PTO they may have available.   If exempt, salaried employees must be paid for any week in which they perform work.  You can require them to take a full week off unpaid, but they should not perform any work in that week.  If you are shut down and work is not available, your employees may apply for unemployment benefits.

If we are forced to close and not running payroll, how will benefits, such as insurance, be impacted?

For clients in which Worksite pays the carrier, we will continue to pay the health insurance bill for our clients. If no payroll is being run, the employee portion will arrear to you, the client. In the event the employee does not return to work, the chance exists that you would have to cover the amount that arreared to you if there are no funds to collect from the employee.  We are monitoring changes to legislation and will pass along information as we receive it.

What should we tell our employees?

Providing employees with factual information from health officials and assuring employees that their health and safety is paramount can help to prepare and educate employees without causing panic.

How can we prevent the spread of germs at work?

As with most communicable diseases, common hygiene practices are the foundation for avoiding the spread of germs.

* Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough. Use a tissue and throw it away immediately or use your elbow or sleeve if you do not have a tissue.

* Clean your hands often. Wash hands vigorously for 20 seconds with soap and water or use alcohol-based sanitizers, rubbing hands until dry.

* Clean shared surfaces and equipment often with disinfectants.

*Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.

* Stay home if you are sick and contact your health care provider.

* Use a face-covering in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.

Can I tell employees if a co-worker has tested positive for the coronavirus or other communicable diseases?

No. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) privacy rules restrict employers from sharing personal health information of an employee. Employers should inform employees that possible exposure has occurred in the workplace without disclosing any identifying information about the individual who tested positive.

Can I ask an employee if he or she has the coronavirus?

Due to the community spread of COVID-19, employers may now ask an employee if they are experiencing symptoms related to COVID-19 (fever, cough, shortness of breath), but should keep the inquiry limited to those symptoms.

What should we do if an employee discloses that they have been in close contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19?

According to CDC guidance, individuals who have had close contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19 should self-quarantine. Employers can require an employee who has been exposed to the virus to stay at home.

Can I require an employee to go home (or stay home) if he or she is sick?

Yes, employees who show signs of respiratory illness can be asked to leave the workplace and stay at home until they are symptom-free. Ask the employee to speak to their health care provider for guidance about treatment and when it would be advisable to return to work.

Can an employee refuse to report to work due to fear of contracting the coronavirus?

Under the Occupation Safety and Health Act (OSH Act), employees are only entitled to refuse to work if they believe they are in imminent danger.

Can we require a doctor’s note before allowing a sick employee to return to work?

If an employer applies the practice consistently, clearance from a health care provider to return to work can be required. However, guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests employers remove such requirements during a health crisis as access to health care providers may be limited.

Should employees returning from business or personal travel be required to stay away from the office for 14 days?

Employees returning from countries that have a Level 3 Travel Health Notice from the CDC should stay home for a period of 14 days after returning to the United States.

Do I have to pay nonexempt employees who are sent home from work because they are sick?

Typically, employers do not have to pay nonexempt employees for hours not worked.  However, the new Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which went into effect on 4/1/20, requires employers with less than 500 employees to pay sick leave if the employee meets any of the following criteria:

  • The employee is subject to a federal, state or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19.
  • The employee is advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to COVID-19 concerns.
  • The employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis.
  • The employee is caring for an individual (not limited to family members) subject to a federal, state or local quarantine or isolation order or advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to COVID-19 concerns.
  • The employee is caring for their child if the child’s school or place of care is closed or the child’s care provider is unavailable due to public health emergency; or
  • The employee is experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of Labor.

Do I have to pay exempt employees who are sent home from work because they are sick?

Typically, an exempt employee must be paid for partial-day absences but may have his or her salary reduced for full-day absences due to sickness if the employer offers a paid sick leave benefit and the employee has exhausted that leave or is not yet eligible for the leave. However, the new Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which went into effect on 4/1/20, requires employers with less than 500 employees to pay sick leave if the employee meets any of the following criteria:

  • The employee is subject to a federal, state or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19.
  • The employee is advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to COVID-19 concerns.
  • The employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis.
  • The employee is caring for an individual (not limited to family members) subject to a federal, state or local quarantine or isolation order or advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to COVID-19 concerns.
  • The employee is caring for their child if the child’s school or place of care is closed or the child’s care provider is unavailable due to public health emergency; or
  • The employee is experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of Labor.

Are absences due to the coronavirus covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)? 

The coronavirus would likely qualify as a “serious health condition” under the FMLA, allowing an employee to take FMLA protected leave.  The new Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which went into effect on 4/1/20, requires employers with less than 500 employees to offer paid Emergency FMLA leave if the employee meets the following criteria:

  • The employee has worked for the employer for at least 30 days.
  • The employee experiences a “qualifying event” because that employee is unable to work or telework because the employee needs to care for the employee’s child (under 18 years of age) if the child’s school is closed, or the childcare provider is unavailable, due to a public health emergency.

The Secretary of Labor has the discretion to exempt healthcare providers and emergency responders from taking emergency leave, as well as businesses with fewer than 50 employees if the required leave would jeopardize the viability of the business.

The total amount of FMLA an employee may use in a 12 month period is capped at 12 weeks and would include any regular FMLA leave they have taken as well as any Emergency Family and Medical leave as eligible under the FFCRA.

Do we have to allow employees to work from home?

While not required, telecommuting may be a practical measure to reduce exposure of the virus in some work environments. Employees with disabilities that put them at high risk for complications may request telework as a reasonable accommodation to reduce their chances of infection during a pandemic.

Should we restrict employee travel?

Many employers are canceling all but the most essential business travel.

Can I take employees’ temperatures to ensure they don’t have a fever when reporting for work?

While this is not normally advisable due to concerns under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and employee relations issues, given the community spread of COVID-19, employers may take temperatures and ask if an employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.  Remember that an individual without an elevated temperature could still be ill, so this may provide a false sense of security.  Require employees with visible signs of respiratory illness to stay home.

Do I have to allow an employee to wear a face mask at work?

The CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.

CDC also advises the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others.  Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure.

Where can I find more information?

For additional information about COVID-19, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at cdc.gov.

 

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

Give us a call at 941.677.0110 or send an email to Info@WorksiteEmployee.com so we can help. Clients of Worksite will not be charged for assistance with applying for an SBA loan through the Paycheck Protection Program!

4/1/2020

The programs and initiatives in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act that was just passed by Congress are intended to assist business owners with whatever needs they have right now. When implemented, there will be many new resources available for small businesses, as well as certain non-profits and other employers.

The Small Business Owner’s Guide to the CARES Act provides information about the major programs and initiatives that will soon be available from the Small Business Administration (SBA) to address these needs, as well as some additional tax provisions that are outside the scope of SBA.

Struggling to get started? The following questions might help point you in the right direction. Do you need:

  • Capital to cover the cost of retaining employees? Then the Paycheck Protection Program might be right for you.
  • A quick infusion of a smaller amount of cash to cover you right now? You might want to look into an Emergency Economic Injury Grant.
  • To ease your fears about keeping up with payments on your current or potential SBA loan? The Small Business Debt Relief Program could help.

 

3/27/2020

The President recently signed legislation that includes important provisions to help you keep your employees on the payroll during the COVID-19 crisis. These benefits are potentially available to all employers and, in some cases, the federal government will cover many of the costs of continuing to pay your employees for a period of time.

However, these new programs are complicated and there are important choices to make in deciding how to best utilize them. As outlined in more detail in this Summary of Payroll Assistance Programs, there are three new ways that you can now get assistance with payroll expenses during this crisis:

  • Small Business Administration (SBA) Paycheck Protection Loan Program
  • 50% Employee Retention Tax Credit
  • Social Security Tax Deferral

You Can’t Choose All of the Above

Each of these new alternatives provides very generous tax subsidies to assist employers. But you’ll still need to make choices.

  • If you obtain one of the new SBA loans, you are not eligible for the 50% employee retention tax credit.
  • If you have a new SBA loan forgiven, you cannot take advantage of the Social Security tax deferral.
  • If you claim the 50% employee retention credit, you will no longer be eligible for an SBA loan.
  • If you take advantage of the Social Security tax deferral, you will no longer be eligible to have your SBA loan forgiven.

It is critical that you carefully evaluate your eligibility for and the benefits of each of these options since the amount of assistance provided by the federal government could vary greatly depending on which path you choose. Right now, we don’t have all the details and are awaiting further guidance from the SBA and IRS.

 

CARES Act FAQs

The CARES Act provides additional funding to the SBA for its 7(a) loan program. It also expands the availability of these loans to businesses that would not normally qualify. Additionally, all or a portion of the loan may effectively be converted to a grant through a special loan forgiveness provision.

COVID-19 has adversely affected my business. What do I do?

The Senate has passed the CARES Act to help address the devastating impact this virus has caused for Small Business owners. We are aware of the difficulties you are facing and are here to assist in any way we can. First thing we’d like to point out is the proper way to retain your employees in order to prepare for the application of funds that will soon be available.

  1. Please DO NOT tell your employees to file for Unemployment.  Offer your employees a Furlough option. This will allow you to start paying them retroactively to February 15, 2020 utilizing the funding from this bill.
  2. If you were not with Worksite during the dates of February 15, 2019 through June 30, 2019 please reach out to your prior Payroll Provider immediately to request the following:
    1. Documentation verifying the number of Full Time Equivalent Employee’s (FTE’s) on payroll and pay rates for the periods described above
    2. Payroll tax filings proving the taxes paid on your behalf
    3. State Income, payroll, and unemployment insurance filings.
  3. If you were with Worksite during the dates of February 15, 2019 through June 30, 2019, we already have your records and will assist in providing them to the SBA as outline in #2 above.
  4. Please have available Rent, Utilities (Electricity, Gas, Water, Transportation, Telephone and/or Internet access) and Debt records (breakdown of Interest and Principal).
    1. The SBA will accept the following as approved records for #4
      1. Cancelled Checks
      2. Payment Receipts
      3. Transcripts of accounts
      4. Or other documents verifying payments

Who is eligible?

Businesses, non-profit or veterans’ organizations that employ 500 or fewer TOTAL employees per LOCATION regardless of full-time or part-time status (per location) AND in business on February 15, 2020.

What are the requirements?

  • Eligible recipient applying for covered loan shall make a good faith certification that the uncertainty of current economic conditions makes necessary the loan request to support the ongoing operations of the eligible recipient.
  • Acknowledgment that the funds will be used to retain workers and maintain payroll or make mortgage payments, lease payments, and utility payments.

How will the SBA deem the loan is necessary for my Small Business?

  • The Government considers the loan necessary if you experience any of the following:
    • Supply chain disruptions
    • Staffing Challenges
    • Decrease in gross receipts or customers
    • Closure

What is the actual formula to determine my max loan amount?

  • The calculation varies based on your situation. Below are the different formulas utilized:
  • Average monthly payments for payroll 12-week period beginning February 15, 2019 or at the election of the eligible recipient, March 1, 2019 and ending June 30, 2019 and MULTIPLY by 2.5
  • If not in business February 15, 2019 through June 30, 2019
  • Average monthly payments for payroll beginning January 1, 2020 and ending February 29, 2020 MULTIPLY by 2.5
  • Seasonal: Average wages for your Full Time Equivalents from 2/15/19-6/30/19 MULTIPLY by 2.5
  • CAUTION!  There will be a reduction in forgiveness if the total salary or wages of any employee is 25% MORE than the most recent full quarter the employee was covered. The loan is intended to replace what the employee was making, not to give them a raise.
  • You must ensure by June 30, 2020 the amount of Full-Time Equivalent Employees you employ is equal to the amount you employed prior to the COVID-19 breakout.

How can I utilize these funds and still have it forgiven as a grant?

  • Payroll Costs beginning February 15, 2020 and ending June 30, 2020
  • Payroll costs including Taxes, Workers’ Compensation and Fees
  • Salary, wage, commissions or similar compensation payments (to the extent that it would not exceed an annualized amount of $100,000 to the individual employee)
  • Payments of Cash Tips or Equivalent
  • Paid vacation, parental, family, medical or sick leave (other than payments for which credit are allowed under FFCRA)
  • Payments for provision of group health benefits, including premium and retirement benefits
  • State and Local taxes assessed on compensation of employees
  • Rent, Utilities (Electricity, Gas, Water, Transportation, Telephone and/or Internet access) and Debt records (breakdown of Interest and Principal).
  • Amount of loan that is forgivable with NO inclusion in taxable income

What else should I know?

  • Maximum Repayment term for balance (if any) remaining after forgiveness is 10-year at a max rate of 4% interest.
  • Loan will be registered using the TIN for all loans with the SBA no later than 15 days after the loan is made.
  • Waiver of Personal Guaranty
  • No collateral needed
  • WARNING! Do not use for unauthorized purposes or it will remain a loan with a 10-year term at 4% interest.
  • NO FORGIVENESS WITHOUT DOCUMENTATION
    • The Bank must supply the SBA with the documentation to confirm the forgiveness.
    • SBA has up to 30 days to issue guidance and regulations on this Act.

Components of H.R. 6201, COVID-19 Relief Legislation (FAMILIES FIRST ACT)

The Department of Labor (DOL) has released a revised version of the new poster titled Employee Rights: Paid Sick Leave and Expanded Family and Medical Leave under The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). This revised poster must be posted in a conspicuous location on your premises. If you have employees teleworking at this time, please email a copy to them as well.

Employee Rights: Paid Sick Leave and Expanded FFCRA Poster

The DOL has also published additional Frequently Asked Questions answering many questions regarding the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFRCA). Every employer should review these FAQs.

Issues clarified include employees who are furloughed or laid off are not entitled to paid sick leave or emergency FMLA leave, how to calculate the regular rate of pay for paid leave, and what documentation must be collected. Below are just a few highlights of the questions being answered:

  • If my employer closes my worksite, can I still get paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave?
  • If my employer is open but furloughs me, can I receive paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave?
  • When calculating pay due to employees, must overtime hours be included?
  • May I take my paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave intermittently?
  • Can my employer deny me paid sick leave if my employer gave me paid leave for a reason identified in the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act prior to the Act going into effect?
  • What does it mean to be unable to work, including telework for COVID-19 related reasons?
  • If I elect to take paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave, must my employer continue my health coverage?

If you still have questions about the FFCRA after reviewing these FAQs, please contact us at HR@WorksiteEmployee.com.

Temporary Expansion of Family and Medical Leave

  • H.R. 6201 would require employers with fewer than 500 employees to provide up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave, ten weeks of which would be paid.
  • Leave would be for “qualifying need related to a public health emergency.”
  • Qualifying need is defined as to mean “the employee is unable to work (or telework) due to a need for leave to care for the son or daughter under 18 years of age of such employee if the school [meaning a primary or secondary school only] or place of care has been closed, or the child care provider of such son or daughter is unavailable, due to a public health emergency.”
  • A “public health emergency” is then defined to mean “an emergency with respect to COVID-19 declared by a Federal, State, or local authority.”
  • The leave applies to employees who have been employed for at least 30 calendar days, rather than the 12-month period under the current FMLA.
  • The Secretary of Labor has the regulatory authority to exempt employers with fewer than 50 employees if the provision of paid FMLA leave “would jeopardize the viability of the business.”
  • Employers with 25 or more employees would be required to reinstate employees after their FMLA leave period ends.
  • Employers with fewer than 25 employers do not have to reinstate an employee if they are experiencing significant economic hardship.
  • The first 10 days for which an employee takes leave could be unpaid leave, or the employee could choose to substitute any accrued vacation, personal or sick leave (including in certain instances the emergency paid “sick” leave described below).
  • After the initial 10 days, the employer would be required to provide paid leave based on an amount that is not less than two-thirds of an employee’s regular rate of pay and the number of hours the employee would otherwise be normally scheduled to work.
  • The bill caps the amount of the paid leave, per employee, to no more than $200 per day or $10,000 in the aggregate.
  • These provisions were effective 4/1/2020.

Creation of a Temporary Paid Sick Leave Program

  • H.R. 6201 requires employers to provide full-time employees with 80 hours of certain emergency paid “sick” leave related to the coronavirus (with special rules for part-time employees)
  • The paid sick leave could be used in any of the following circumstances:
    • The employee is subject to a federal, state or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19.
    • The employee has been advised by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19.
    • The employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis.
    • The employee is caring for an individual who:
      • Is subject to a federal, state or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19, or
      • Has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19.
    • The employee is caring for a son or daughter where the school or place of care of the son or daughter has been closed or the child care provider of such son or daughter is unavailable, due to COVID-19 precautions.
    • The employee is experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the Secretary of HHS in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of Labor.
  • Full-time employees would be entitled to 80 hours of paid leave
  • Part-time employees are entitled to “a number of hours equal to the number of hours that such employee works, on average, over a 2-week period.”
  • The required paid leave ends with the employee’s next scheduled work shift following the end of the qualifying need.
  • The required sick pay is calculated based on the employee’s regular rate of pay or, if higher, the applicable minimum wage rate.
  • In the case of leaves to care for a family member or child, however, the required sick pay is based on 2/3rds of the regular rate of pay.
  • For part-time employees whose schedule varies from week to week, special rules apply to calculate the average number of hours.
  • The maximum amount of required sick pay per employee is $511 per day and $5,110 in the aggregate.
  • In the case of leaves to care for a family member or child, however, the maximum amount of required sick pay per employee is $200 per day and $2,000 in the aggregate.
  • The bill imposes notice requirements and prohibits employers from discharging, disciplining or discriminating against employees who take paid sick leave.
  • The Secretary of Labor is instructed to provide a model notice within seven days after enactment.
  • An employer is also prohibited from requiring employees to look for or find replacement employees to cover the hours during which the employee is using paid sick time.
  • Violations are punishable under the FLSA.
  • The paid leave provisions went into effect April 1, 2020 and expire on December 31, 2020.

Refundable Tax Credits to Pay for Leave

  • H.R. 6201 provides provide a series of tax credits to those employers subject to expanded FMLA and emergency paid “sick” leave requirements.
  • The employer-related credits, which are refundable, would be applied against the employer portion of Social Security taxes for each quarter equal to the “qualifying” paid leave wages paid by the employer.
  • The tax credits would apply with respect to both the FMLA-expanded paid leave as well as the emergency paid “sick” leave.
  • The amount of the tax credits vary based on the type of leave.

Tax Credit for Expanded FMLA Leave

  • H.R. 6201 would provide employers a refundable tax credit equal to 100 percent of the “qualified family leave wages” that the employer is required to pay for a given quarter under the Expanded FMLA Leave.
  • The amount of the qualified family leave wages that would be taken into account for purposes of the credit per employee is $200 for any day for which the employer pays the employee qualified family leave wages, up to a maximum amount for all calendar quarters of $10,000 per employee.

Tax Credit for Emergency Paid “Sick” Leave

  • H.R. 6201 would provide employers a refundable tax credit equal to 100 percent of “qualified sick leave wages” that the employer is required to pay for a given quarter under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act.
  • The amount of qualified sick leave wages for purposes of the credit would vary depending upon the reason for the leave.
  • For employees who must self-isolate, obtain a coronavirus diagnosis or comply with a self-isolation recommendation from a public official or health care provider, the amount of qualified sick leave wages taken into account is capped at $511 per day.
  • The bill also allows for an increase in the amount of the tax credit equal to the amount “of the employer’s qualified health plan expenses as are properly allocable to the qualified family [or sick] leave wages for which such credit is allowed.”
  • The tax credit would apply to wages the employer pays between April 1, 2020 and December 31, 2020.

Free Coronavirus Testing

  • H.R. 6201 would require that group health plans and health insurance issuers of group health insurance to cover FDA-approved COVID-19 diagnostic testing products.
  • Cost covered includes the items and services furnished during a provider visit (office, telehealth, urgent care, and emergency room) to the extent those items and services related to the furnishing or administration of the testing product or the evaluation of the individual’s need for the testing product.
  • The mandated coverage must be provided without “any cost-sharing (including deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance) requirements or prior authorization or other medical management requirements.”
  • The requirement to cover COVID-19 testing costs starts from the date of enactment until the Secretary of HHS determines that the public health emergency has expired.