COVID-19 Resources for Small Businesses

 

  • Qualified Sick Leave Wages
  • Businesses with fewer than 500 employees must pay up to 80 hours of emergency paid sick leave to full-time employees (pro-rata rules apply to part-time employees) who are home sick from coronavirus, complying with a quarantine, or taking care of an individual who has been infected. This leave also applies to working families who may be forced home due to school closures.
  • Federal government will provide employers with a refundable payroll tax credit of 100% of the required wages.
  • Employees are capped at $200 per say ($511 per day in the case of employees that are home sick from coronavirus or complying with a quarantine).
  • Qualified Family Leave Wages
  • Businesses with fewer than 500 employees must provide an additional 12 weeks of paid leave due to caring for a child whose school is closed.
  • The first 2 weeks of the leave, which is covered by the qualified sick leave described above, may be unpaid.
  • During the remaining 10 weeks, the employer will pay 2/3 of the employee’s salary, capped at $200 per day for up to 50 days.
  • Federal government will provide businesses with a refundable payroll tax credit of 100% of the required wages.
  • Secretary of Labor may issue rules to exempt small businesses with fewer than 50 employees from these requirements when the imposition of such requirements would jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern.
  • Unemployment Insurance for Workers
  • Provides $500 million for emergency administrative grants to states to support timely application, processing and payment of unemployment claims.
  • Makes an additional $500 million available for 100% federally funded Extended Benefits to support states that experience a spike in unemployment of at least 10% and eases some federal eligibility requirements to improve access.
  • Allow states to access interest-free federal loans to pay unemployment benefits, if needed.

 

 

  • Health and Safety in the Workplace
  • It is important to note that OSHA has not issued any new regulations or legal obligations with regard to COVID-19; they have simply given best practices to ensure the health and safety of all employees.
  • Businesses should, however, existing OSHA standards due to the fact that these standards may apply to protecting workers against COVID-19. For the most recent OSHA guidance on COVID-19, please see https://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3990.pdf.
  • Paycheck Protection Loans to Small Businesses
  • This new loan program will offer significant relief to small businesses by providing working capital to allow these businesses to keep operations running and people employed.
  • Existing SBA lenders and new, approved lenders brought into the program will be able to offer these loans to eligible small businesses. This will allow businesses to access these loans through community banks and other qualifying lenders, putting the money in the hands of the businesses faster.
  • New Loans under this program are eligible for a forgiveness if the business maintains payroll continuity from Feb. 15, 2020 through June 30, 2020. Qualifying businesses may request forgiveness on a loan used on payroll costs, mortgage interest, rent, and utility pay over an 8 week period.
  • The amount forgiven will be reduced proportionally by any reduction in employees retained compared to the prior year 
  • Provides flexibility for businesses that re-hire workers that were previously laid off
  • The SBA will guarantee 100% of Loans provided at a 4% interest rate during the period from March 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020
  • All small businesses employing 500 or less employees (including 501(c)(3), sole proprietors, independent contractors, and self-employed individuals) that have been adversely impacted by COVID-19 would be eligible to receive a Loan in an amount equal to the lesser of $10 million or 2.5x the average monthly payroll based on the prior year’s payroll.
  • Qualifying small businesses may use these funds to cover: payroll costs, costs related to the continuation of healthcare benefits during periods of paid sick, medical, or family leave, and insurance premiums, employee salaries, commission, or similar compensations, payments of interest on any mortgage, rent, utilities, or interest on any other debt that was incurred before the covered period
  • This bill also increases the maximum loan amount for “Express Loans” from $350,000 to $1,000,000. “Express Loans” are expedited versions of the loans provided under Section 7(a) for which the turnaround time for a response to the application is given within 36 hours. 
  • Tax Relief for Main Street Businesses:
  • Provides a refundable payroll tax credit for 50% of the wages paid to employees during the COVID-19 crisis for businesses that had to partially or fully close down, or those whose gross receipts decreased by over 50%.
  • Employers with 100 or fewer full-time employees can receive the credit regardless of if they had to shut down.
  • The credit counts for the first $10,000 of compensation paid per employee.
  • Delivers short-term relief and liquidity to employers and the self-employed by allowing them to immediately defer payroll taxes and pay them over the next two years, with half due on Dec. 31, 2021, and the other half due on Dec. 31, 2022.
  • Allows businesses to carry a net operating loss that occurred in 2018, 2019, or 2020 back five years and amend the prior year return, providing additional cash flow and liquidity.
  • Helps businesses provide student loan repayment to their workers by allowing up to $5,250 in tax-free payments toward an employee’s student loans.
  • Increases the amount of interest expenses businesses are allowed to deduct on their tax returns, up to a limit of 50 percent of their taxable income.
  • Allows businesses to immediately write off the costs associated with facility improvements instead of having to depreciate these improvements over 39 years, which is particularly important for the hospitality industry and local supermarkets.
  • Amplifies all the great work being done by American distilleries to help produce hand sanitizer by waiving the federal excise tax on alcohol used for this purpose.