Small Business Loans
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provides $350 billion to help small businesses keep workers employed amid the pandemic and economic downturn. View the Small Business Guide and Checklist created by the US Chamber of Commerce here.
The Pennsylvania Chamber of Business has set up a resource page with CARES Act information, as well as details for other disaster loan options available through the US Small Business Administration. Apply for those low interest disaster assistance loans here.
For self-employed business owners and independent contractors, you can now file for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.
Additional programs accumulated by the US Chamber of Commerce.
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act
Signed into law on March 18th, this bill makes substantial changes to sick and FMLA leave for businesses and employees in 2020. If your business has fewer than 50 employees, you may be able to apply for an exemption from the Secretary of Labor if providing either of the types of paid leave could “jeopardize the viability” of your business, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. See their Q&A list, or check some key points of the FFCRA. You can also seek reimbursement, or guaranteed loans through the CARES Act Paycheck Protection program. The CARES Act also created employee retention tax credit that you may be eligible for.
Each employer must post or otherwise distribute a notice of FFCRA requirements.
If you are laying off employees, or drastically reducing hours for employees because business is only operating for emergency situations due to COVID-19, you have some options regarding employees' benefits:
- You can cancel their benefits and provide Cobra letter. This gives them the option to continue their medical coverage but to pay you directly the full cost of the coverage. In PA, for groups with under 20 TOTAL employees we have Mini-Cobra which normally lasts up to 9 months. Download Mini-Cobra model notice here. For groups 20+, there is Federal Cobra, which normally lasts up to 18 months. Download Cobra model notice here.
- You can continue their benefits even though technically not working full-time. You should set a time period for how long you will do this and specify how much the employee needs to pay and by when. A sample Benefits Continuation letter is available here. Carriers do not have guidelines in their own contracts about if/how long you can do this. It is generally a procedure the employer sets up and you would have to offer it to all employees in the same situation so that there is no discrimination.
For your employees
- Governor Wolf is allowing out-of-state health care professionals to treat Pennsylvania residents.
- FocusHRO has access to excellent rates for telemedicine services, including Teledoc and AllyHealth plans. Contact us to learn more!
- What to do when you lose your job.
- Employees may be eligible for Unemployment or Workers' Compensation benefits.
Payroll and Additional Resources
A customizable flyer from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for your business to use to reassure clients/customers/employees.
A recap of Federal stimulus programs (FFCRA/CARES).
Tax relief, other fundraised programs and bank/credit information.
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