Dear Valued Clients, Colleagues and Supporters: We wish you continued health and safety and in the spirit of solidarity and cooperation, below is our third newsletter installment with COVID-19 oriented information. Our two previous editions can be found here and here.
Federal Small Business Assistance
On March 27, 2020, Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which allocated billions of dollars in loans and disaster funding for small businesses. These loans, many of which are fully or partially forgivable, are intended to provide much need financial assistance for businesses struggling to make payroll and keep their employees working. The US. Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship put out a guide on SBA loans under the CARES act, portions of which are highlighted below.
Paycheck Protection Program
This application is now available at the following website: fundera.com. Please be advised that we have no affiliation with this site, but are just sharing it because it is the only one we know of currently accepting applications for this program.
One of the most essential forms of relief available for small business is provided under the "Paycheck Protection Program", which provides 100% federally guaranteed loans to employers for the purposes to maintaining payroll during the pandemic. Generally speaking, as long as employers keep up their payroll payments, these loans are forgiven for up to eight weeks of payroll, depending on salary levels. Repayment of loans can also be deferred for six months to a year and come with no associated fees.
To qualify, businesses, including non-profits, sole proprietorships, independent contractor, and the self-employed, must have been in operation as of February 15, 2020, and have less than 500 employees. Loans are available through June 30, 2020 and are retroactive to February 15 to give businesses an opportunity to bring back workers who have been laid off already. The loan monies can be used to cover payroll costs, benefits, mortgage interest payments, rent, utilities, and interest on other debt obligations.
The amount of each loan is typically calculated as 250 percent of your average monthly payroll costs from February 15, 2020 - June 30 2020. The maximum term of a loan is 10 years at an interest rate of 4 percent. The amount of the loan that is forgiven is equal to the payroll costs during the same 8-week period from the previous year (excluding compensation of $100,000) plus morgue interest payments, rent, and utilities. There should be further guidelines on how to apply for these loans and which entities are authorized to grant them.
Economic Injury Disaster Loans & Emergency Economic Injury Grants
This application is now available at the following website: sba.gov
Small business, non-profits, independent contractors, sole proprietorships, tribal small business, and cooperatives/employee owned business can apply for an advance of up to $10,000 as a forgivable grant and offset against the PPP loan. This amount is supposed to be paid out within 3 days of applying and does not have to be repaid under any circumstances.
You can still apply for a loan under the Paycheck Protection Program if you receive an emergency loan, though the PPP loan will be reduced by whatever emergency amounts you receive.
Families First Coronavirus Response Act FAQ Update
The United States Department of Labor recently updated its frequently asked questions page to address common inquiries and concerns regarding the newly available benefits for workers who need to take leave due to COVID-related reasons. As we previously covered, both the New York State and federal governments passed emergency legislation expanding the permitted reasons for taking leave from work and available related benefits under for who are infected with COVID-19, are under quarantine, or have to care for a child whose school is closed due to the pandemic. The federal benefits become available as of April 1, 2020.
The DOL's FAQ page clarifies to which business the new federal legislation applies, how to calculate the amount of pay an individual will receive under various circumstances, what benefits are provided for each reason for taking leave, how the new laws interact with previous laws, and what happens if your place of business closes or you are furloughed. One particularly important clarification the DOL provided is that a worker who has the technological capability to work from home but cannot actually work because he or she is caring for a child whose school has closed is "unable to telework" and is therefore eligible for benefits under the Act. The DOL also clarified that leave may be taken intermittently and may, under certain circumstances, account for lost overtime hours. While there are too many specific issues addressed to cover in one newsletter, we are available to discuss any specific questions or concerns you may have about your particular situation.
There should be additional information available in the coming days and weeks regarding not only what benefits are available, but how individuals and business go about applying for them. As soon as the regulations, guidance, or other guidelines are published, we will do our best to summarize them in another newsletter.