Coronavirus update – 3-31-20

I have a number of updates for you related to two webinars Miller Johnson hosted today, the first being an update on the second stimulus bill passed (the FFCRA).  

  • Before I dive into specifics, I’d like to share a little of my opinion on the status of things related to the FFCRA and the CARES Act.  In short, this is going to be a mess from both an employer and an employee standpoint.  Working to determine who is eligible for what is going to be very difficult for employers at times and while we are not experts on this (I’m not sure if anyone is), we are happy to help you work through your situation.

Key Takeaways:

  • First and foremost, if your business is closed either due to the Executive Order or due to lack of business it is very likely none of your employees will be eligible for the benefits under FFCRA (leaving them with expanded unemployment under CARES as their best option). 
  • If you have only a few minutes to dedicate to the video linked above, I encourage you to review the following segments: 
    • 16:33 – This segment discussed the need for employers to maintain documentation related to who is receiving the benefits so that an employer can receive the tax benefits under the FFCRA. 
    • 21:40 – This segment discusses who will and won’t be eligible for benefits if an employer has shut down, will shut down on April 1, or at some point in the future.  In short, it is possible an employee will qualify starting tomorrow, lose eligibility if their employer shuts down, and then regain eligibility if their employer reopens again during the benefit period. 
    • 24:35 – This segment reviews answers from the DOL about different scenarios in which an employee may or may not qualify due to business closure. 
    • 48:00 – This section is target to employers who are healthcare providers and who is not eligible for the expanded FMLA benefits. 
    • 60:00 – This segment is targeted to employers with less than 50 employees and who may leverage the exemption. 
  • I’ve had employers ask how they can leverage a tax credit to keep an employee covered by health insurance.  In short, under the FFCRA the tax credit is only available who qualify for the expanded FMLA or meet one of the six triggers for the sick leave.  As covered above, there are a large number of employees who likely won’t qualify and therefore the tax credit isn’t available for them.  
  • The next alternative is leveraging the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) which is loans through the SBA to keep employees on payroll and to cover items like the cost of health insurance.  Based upon many conversations I’ve had, it looks like demand for this program is very high and it may take some time for an employer to get a clear answer on their options. 

Finally, Miller Johnson hosted a second webinar on complying with executive orders and one area may be of particular interest to you based upon a number of conversations I’ve had.  At the 40:00 minute mark they touch on what they are seeing from an enforcement standpoint at this time.  Specifically, what they are seeing in relation to businesses who may not be deemed essential yet remaining open.  As always, the Miller Johnson website is a great place to get up to date information and sign up for future webinars. 
We anticipate there is much more to come in the next few days and week and will keep you posted.   It is highly likely we will see movement pick up in the next two to three weeks on another stimulus bill to fill more of the gaps left by the prior bills.  
Please don’t hesitate to reach out if there is anything we can do to help.

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