DIRECT LINK TO STATE HEALTH DEPARTMENT WEBSITES FOR UPDATES
Indiana Health Department: https://www.in.gov/coronavirus/
Kentucky Health Department: https://healthalerts.ky.gov/Pages/Coronavirus.aspx
Ohio Health Department: https://odh.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/odh/media-center/ODH-News-Releases/COVID-19-ODH-Call-center
National Multifamily Housing Council Coronavirus Hub: www.nmhc.org/research-insight/Research-Insight-Knowledge-Library/covid-19-hub/
THE SMALL BUSINESS OWNER'S GUIDE TO CARES ACT
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. This guide 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. Click here to see more details. Act now to file for SBA disaster relief grants and loans as there are limited funds, and a limited number of applications will be accepted by SBA.
UPDATED SBA PHASE III OR CARES ACT
The following three documents provide insight into the new Small Business Administration program that was passed today, referred to as the Phase III legislation or Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The Payment Protection Program and Loan Forgiveness is one of the KEY sections of the law allocated over $350 Billion. There is a 1 pages descriptor of the program (& 2 other programs), and a 2 page FAQ, as well as a third 7-pg document that details Title 1 of the bill, that is the SBA programs. Banks and Credit Unions may not have material to start these loans until next week sometime, however they are typically set up to address Emergency Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) grants.
Property owners: if you are in a situation where you are not receiving rent - please consider applying for these programs ASAP! The funds will not last long, especially with forgiveness for payroll and contractor bills.
SMALLL BUSINESS LOANS ("PAYCHECK PROTECTION LOANS") THROUGH CARES ACT
Application Businesses: businesses with fewer than 500 employees — including sole proprietors and nonprofits.
Access: $350 billion in loans under Section 7 of the Small Business Act during the “covered period,” which runs from February 15, 2020 through June 30, 2020.
Guarantee: fully guaranteed by the federal government through December 31, 2020 (returning to an 85% guarantee for loans greater than $150,000 after that date),
Loan Amount Eligible:
LESSER of the following:
- (i) Sum of:
- average monthly “Payroll Costs” for the 1-year period ending on the date the loan was made (an alternative calculation is available for seasonal employers) multiplied by 2.5, and
- any disaster loan (discussed below) taken out after January 31, 2020 that has been refinanced into a paycheck protection loan OR
- (ii) $10 million.
“Payroll Costs”equal the sum of the following:
- wages, commissions, salary, or similar compensation to an employee or independent contractor,
- payment of a cash tip or equivalent,
- payment for vacation, parental, family, medical or sick leave,
- allowance for dismissal or separation,
- payment for group health care benefits, including premiums,
- payment of any retirement benefits, and
- payment of state or local tax assessed on the compensation of employees,
“Payroll Costs” are NOT the following:
- the compensation of any individual employee in excess of an annual salary of $100,000,
- payroll taxes,
- any compensation of an employee whose principal place of residence is outside the U.S., or
- any qualified sick leave or family medical leave for which a credit is allowed under the new Coronavirus Relief Act passed last week.
- Term: maximum maturity of 10 years
- Interest Rate: not to exceed 4%.
- Standard fees imposed under Section 7 of the Small Business Act are waived
- No personal guarantee is required by the business owner
- Possible deferment of repayment of the loans for a period of at least six months, but not to exceed a year
Allowable Uses of Loan: proceeds may be used to cover payroll, mortgage payments, rent, utilities, and any other debt service requirements.
Loan Forgiveness of Paycheck Protection Loans
- Portion of the aforementioned paycheck protection loans to be forgiven on a tax-free basis.
- Amount to be forgiven is the sumof the following payments made by the borrower during the 8-week period beginning on the date of the loan:
· payroll costs (as defined above)
· mortgage interest,
· certain utility payments.
How to Get Forgiveness:
- Borrower must submit to the lender an application that includes documentation verifying the number of employees and pay rates, and cancelled checks showing mortgage, rent, or utility payments.
Reducing Forgiveness Amount: However, the amount that may be forgiven if the employer either:
- Reduces its average FTE workforce during the 8-week covered period when compared to either of the following periods: (i) 2/15/2019 to 6/30/2019 or (ii) 1/1/2020 to 2/29/2020; or
- Reduces the salary or wages paid to an employee who had earned less than $100,000 in annualized salary by more than 25% during the covered period.
Provided, however, this reduction can be avoided, however, if the employer rehires or increases the employee’s pay within an allotted time period.
Everyone has been asking questions recently like, “Am I in an essential business?” and of course, “Am I an essential employee?” Well for those involved in Housing, the answer is YES! Think back to college and the discussion of Maslow’s Hierarchy. At the very base, the beginning of needs, is food and shelter. So to all those providing housing, YOU ARE ESSENTIAL. What is often overlooked, is that those providing products and services to housing are also essential! Apartment Association members, welcome to front and center of the priority list with food and medical.
How do we know? Please review Governor DeWine’s Stay-At-Home-Order from March 22nd. Item 9 “Essential Infrastructure” the terms “building management and maintenance” are used to reference the need for ALL buildings to be maintained. Yes, commercial and residential. The consequences of not doing so could be catastrophic. Additionally, under section 12 K “Critical Trades” copied below, commercial property and residential operations and maintenance are exempted specifically.
“Building and Construction Tradesmen and Tradeswomen, and other trades including but not limited to plumbers, electricians, exterminators, cleaning and janitorial staff for commercial and government properties, security staff, operating engineers, HVAC, painting, moving and relocation services, and other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences, Essential Activities and Essential Businesses and Operations.”
I am told this is consistent with Federal guidelines around emergency operations. Through all of this, please keep in mind, with the Governor’s Order specifically, to the extent feasible, utilize social distancing precautions. This may mean limited hours, appointments rather than walk-ins, and emergency focus on maintenance repairs. But they are to continue. Be safe, and try to follow the spirit of the law as much as the letter of the law. The Governor knows that human interaction is not always possible at 6’ distances, but the goal is to minimize the spread of Covid-19.
Please allow tele-work as much as possible and minimize travel to that which is necessary – understanding that maintaining our responsibilities to our residents is essential. You are essential.
Thank you for what you do!
Be safe out there and take care.
WHAT IS INCLUDED IN "ESSENTIAL CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE" AND ESSENTIAL "BUSINESSES AND SERVICES?"
The Department of Homeland Security, which provides guidance on the "Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce,” has developed an initial list of “Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers.” Click here to learn more and view the list.
- View “Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers” details for Ohio
- View “List of life-sustaining retail businesses" for Kentucky
FEDERAL TAX CREDIT GUIDANCE FOR PAID SICK AND FAMILY MEDICAL LEAVE
This document, prepared by the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation, provides a technical explanation of Division G, “Tax Credits for Paid Sick and Paid Family and Medical Leave,” of H.R. 6201, the “Families First Coronavirus Response Act” (the “bill”) as received in the Senate on March 17, 2020. Click here to see details.
THE FAMILIES FIRST CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE ACT: WHAT EMPLOYERS NEED TO KNOW
On March 18, 2020, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) was approved by Congress and signed by President Trump. There are a number of provisions in the law that will directly impact many employers. Key portions of the bill are discussed below.
Expanded Leave Under the FMLA (for employers with fewer than 500 employees)
The FFCRA amends the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to provide for a new type of family leave related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. It provides for 12 weeks of FMLA leave to care for a minor son or daughter if the child’s school or place of care has been closed or the child’s care provider is unavailable due to an emergency declared by a federal, state, or local authority related to COVID-19.
Employees will become eligible for this leave after only 30 days of service – as opposed the 12 months for most FMLA leave. This portion of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act applies to private sector employers with less than 500 employees, and to all public sector employers. The coronavirus FMLA leave will be two (2) weeks of unpaid leave with the potential for ten (10) subsequent weeks of leave paid at two-thirds of the employees regular pay (capped at $200/day). During the unpaid portion of the leave, employees are permitted to substitute available paid vacation, personal, medical, or sick leave for the unpaid leave.
Employers will be given tax credits for FMLA leave wages paid under this new provision. (See below)
Under the law, the Department of Labor (DOL) has the authority to issue regulations to: (1) exclude health care providers and emergency responders from the benefits of this law; and (2) to exclude businesses with fewer than 50 employees from the requirements of this law when compliance with the law would jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern.
Importantly, the rest of the FMLA rules remain intact. For example, a person who has been employed between 30 days and 1 year is not eligible for unpaid FMLA leave for any other reason.
New Required Emergency Paid Sick Leave (all employers except private employers with more than 499 employees)
The FFCRA also requires employers to provide two weeks of paid sick time to employees for certain reasons related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Like the FMLA expansion, it applies to private employers with fewer than 500 employees and to all public employers. Unlike the new type of FMLA leave, there is no length of service requirement. Rather, employees are eligible for paid sick leave immediately upon hire. Full-time employees are entitled to 80 hours of paid sick time. Part-time employees are entitled to paid sick time in an amount equal to the average number of hours they work in a two-week period.
Under the law, paid sick time must be provided when an employee is unable to work (or telework) due to a need for leave because the employee:
1. Is subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19;
2. Has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19;
3. Is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and is seeking a medical diagnosis;
4. Is caring for an “individual” who is subject to an order or advisement as described in numbers 1 and 2 (Note: There is no definition of “individual,” so this individual could be any person and is not limited to family members);
5. Is caring for a son or daughter (as defined by the FMLA) if, due to COVID-19 precautions, the child’s school or place of care has been closed or the child care provider of such child is unavailable; or
6. Is experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services.
Under the new law, the amount that the employee must be paid varies depending on the reason for the leave:
- Reason 1-3: Paid 100% of their regular rate of pay times the number of hours of paid sick leave, capped at $511 per day and $5,110 in total
- Reason 4-6: Paid 2/3 of their regular rate of pay times the number of hours of paid sick leave, capped at $200 per day and $2,000 in total
The DOL is expected to issue additional guidelines regarding the calculation of paid sick time under this law within 15 days of the enactment of the law.
Employers are required to post a notice regarding these new paid sick time requirements in a conspicuous place in the workplace. Just like with the new FMLA leave, the DOL has the authority to issue regulations to: (1) exclude health care providers and emergency responders from the benefits of this law; (2) exclude businesses with fewer than 50 employees from the requirements of this law when compliance with the law would jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern; and (3) carry out the purposes of this law.
Both the FMLA amendment and new paid sick time requirements will take effect 15 days after the enactment of the law. These provisions are temporary will expire at the end of 2020.
Health Insurance Expansion Related to Testing for COVID-19
The law also impacts all group health plan sponsors. In particular, group health plans are required to provide coverage for testing for COVID-19 without cost sharing.
The law provides for the following:
- Group health plans must cover the cost of products to diagnose or detect SARS-CoV-2 and the virus that causes COVID-19 as approved or authorized under certain provisions of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. Group health plans must also cover any administration or services performed by providers in connection with this testing.
- Coverage is required only to the extent that the items or services described above relate to the furnishing or administration of covered testing, or relate to the evaluation of the individual to determine whether covered testing is needed.
- The coverage must be provided without cost sharing, including deductibles, coinsurance, copayments, prior authorization or medical management requirements. Additionally, a plan cannot impose any restrictions on where the treatment on where the testing is provided.
- The covered items and services can be provided both in-person or over the phone, including telehealth services, urgent care visits and emergency department visits.
Both grandfathered and non-grandfathered group health plans are required to comply with these coverage mandates. Additionally, there is no exception for employers with more than 500 employees. However, retiree-only plans and HIPAA-excepted benefit plans are not subject to this requirement.
This provision of the law is effective on March 18, 2020, but only for those tests and services performed on or after March 18, 2020.
The law provides for a refundable payroll tax credit for the employers subject to the expanded FMLA and required Emergency Paid Sick Leave discussed above. The tax credits will be applied against FICA taxes (Medicare and Social Security). The tax credit includes not only the required paid leave amounts, but also to a portion of the health plan cost allocable to the paid leave. This shifts some of the cost of the health plan coverage expansion to the federal government. However, this tax credit only applies to the employers that are required to provide the expanded FMLA and required emergency paid sick leave. Employers that voluntarily provide this type of benefit will not be eligible for the tax credit.
Details on this tax credit and how it will be allocated will be provided in future guidance issued by the Treasury Department.
WHERE CAN I FIND INFORMATION ON GETTING A SMALL BUSINESS LOAN?
The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering designated states and territories low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury from COVID-19. These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that a business cannot pay due to COVID-19. Terms are determined on a case-by-case basis, based upon each borrower’s ability to repay. Apply for an EIDL at www.sba.gov/disaster. Due to website traffic, please exercise patience. For additional information, please contact the SBA disaster assistance customer service center. Call 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339) or e-mail email@example.com