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Coronavirus Bulletin for Leawood Small Businesses
 
03/25/2020 02:33 PM

HIRE Fund (Hospitality Industry Relief Emergency Fund)

The State of Kansas funded $5 million to provide short-term, zero-interest loans for the hospitality industry due to losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. All funds were allocated due to overwhelming initial response. However, the state is keeping the application site open to continue to collect loss information from Kansas hospitality businesses in the event additional funding is provided. For more information: https://www.kansascommerce.gov/covid-19-response/hospitality-industry-relief-emergency-hire-fund/

 

SBA Coronavirus Disaster Relief Loans

 

In March the federal government approved emergency appropriations that provided important emergency disaster Small Business Administration (SBA) relief loans to small businesses. For more information: https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/disaster-assistance

Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA

 

The FFCRA, which takes effect April 1, provides paid sick leave and paid family leave to employees working for private employers that have fewer than 500 employees, where the employees are directly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Employers have until April 2 to prepare emergency leave policies to address COVID-19 related absences in accordance with FFCRA, as detailed below. Small businesses should note that the FFCRA presumptively applies to ALL employers regardless of size and specifically does not have a 50-employee threshold (which is required to trigger FMLA requirements). The FFCRA has strict notice requirements and there are many potential pitfalls for employers who have never had to administer a FMLA leave before so all employers should familiarize themselves with the requirements of the act.

  1. Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act. Private employers with fewer than 500 employees and public agencies regardless of size are required to provide 80 hours of paid emergency COVID-19 sick leave (regardless of duration of employment) at the employee’s full rate of pay for COVID-19 self-care and at two-thirds rate of pay if the employee is providing COVID-19 care for others. Part-time employees are eligible for a proportionate share of leave based on average hours worked. This leave does not reduce an employee’s rights or benefits under existing state laws or the employer’s prior leave policy.

 

  1. Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act. Private employers with fewer than 500 employees and public agencies regardless of size are subject to the Emergency Family Medical Leave Expansion Act. However, the Secretary of Labor is authorized to exclude businesses with fewer than 50 employees if providing emergency leave would jeopardize the viability of such businesses. Also, health care providers or emergency responders may be excluded at the employer’s discretion. Under this act, employees eligible for paid emergency family and medical leave is expanded to include those employees who have worked for the employer for at least 30 days prior to the date designated for leave (as opposed to the one-year period required by FMLA). The 12 weeks of partially paid, job-protected leave is allowed with a qualifying reason related to a public health emergency and is limited to the need to care for the employee’s child (under 18) if the child’s school or child care provider is closed due to the public emergency. The first ten days of this emergency leave may be unpaid, however the employee may elect to use accrued paid time off, sick leave or vacation, to cover some or all of the first ten-day unpaid period. After the initial ten days, full-time employees must be paid at two-thirds the employee’s regular rate subject to caps of $200 per day and $10,000 per leave. For employers with fewer than 25 employees, job restoration after leave is loosened a bit. The act goes into effect April 2 and is scheduled to expire December 31, 2020.

  1. Emergency Unemployment Insurance Stabilization and Access Act of 2020. This provision provides $1 billion in 2020 for emergency grants to states for unemployment insurance benefit processing and other payments related to coronavirus.

 

  1. Tax Credits for Employers and Self-Employed. The FFCRA contains provisions for employer tax credits to offset the costs of the new leave entitlements and continuing employee health care coverage during leave. The costs will be reimbursed through payroll tax credits with an additional uncapped credit for employer contributions to health insurance premiums. Employers also do not pay the employer side of the payroll taxes on the mandated leave. Self-employed and gig workers paid as independent contractors are also eligible for similar tax credits and should check with their tax preparer to claim the credits if they are unable to perform their trade or business due to COVID-19.  

 

  1. DOL Guidance. The U.S. Department of Labor has issued guidance on the FFCRA, including facts sheets and frequently asked questions:  Facts for Employers; Facts for Employees; Frequently Asked Questions.

Please note the above discussion is general—the specific application of these acts will depend on the specific facts of your business. For more information, please contact Karen Snyder (ksnyder@snyderlawfirmllc.com) or Paul Snyder (psnyder@snyderlawfirmllc.com 
Reference
Karen & Paul Snyder
(913) 685-3900
 
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