Navigating the Coronavirus Crisis: the FFCRA, CARES Act, & Suggestions for SMB Employers/Owners
by ABL & Karen Sloat
Since March, shelter in place orders have closed many small businesses, leaving their owners wondering about their future & how to support valued employees. And even with “essential” businesses, there are new laws to observe. Problems with the systems currently in place for PPP loans & other loans for small businesses have added to the uncertainty. Congress has passed 2 major laws to help the economy keep going during the Coronavirus crisis: the Families First Coronavirus Recovery Act (FFCRA) & the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, & Economic Security (CARES) Act.
What You Need to Know Right Away about the FFCRA:
First, if you have employees, hang the poster if you haven’t done so already. Put it in the usual place where you hang required Employment Law posters– in the conspicuous place you’ve chosen, where all employees can see it. The deadline to hang the poster was 4/1, but better now than never!
Second, familiarize yourself with the main takeaways of the FFCRA. The FFCRA provides 100% extra paid leave for 12 weeks to:
- -Employees who’ve been advised to self-quarantine,
- -Employees who are sick with COVID-19,
- -Employees who are caring for a family member who’s been infected with the virus or advised to self-quarantine.
- -For employees whose childcare has been discontinued during the crisis, the required amount of paid leave is ⅔ of the employees’ regular salary.
What You Need to Know Now about the CARES Act:
The CARES Act is another comprehensive act that attempts to support Americans during the economic crisis prompted by COVID-19.
- -It allows workers who would normally not be able to get unemployment to collect it, if the state in which they reside allows it. California has elected to do so! This includes independent contractors. You can apply at the EDD.
- -PPP loans. If you manage to get one, the debt is forgivable if you meet certain requirements on spending.
- At least 60% of it must be used for payroll. If you don’t hit that mark, then none of it is forgivable.
- You have 24 weeks to spend it.
- The forgivable amount may be lowered if you laid off employees, cut hours, or received an EIDL grant. Non-forgivable amounts will accrue interest of 1%.
-EIDLs (Economic Injury Disaster Loans) are now available through an SBA lender.
Where & How to Get Help:
- ABL’s SMB COVID-19 Resources page is being updated regularly & has information about California & federal employment law, financing for SMBs, & more.
- Karen Sloat’s Resource Page also has COVID-19 Information for Employers.
- Got questions only a lawyer could answer? COVID-19-specific appointments are available from ABL or Karen Sloat. We can help you figure out resources & laws that apply to your business, & help you take legal actions that will help you protect your business.
- Can’t pay rent? You are not the only one. Try negotiating with your landlord. Both residential and commercial evictions for nonpayment of rent due to shortages caused by the coronavirus’ economic effects are on hold right now.
- Got mental & physical health? Please take care of you. Discipline yourself to rest. If you live in a place where it’s safe to do so, get some fresh air. Audio visual apps like the newly-popular Zoom can help you keep contact with family & friends. The California COVID-19 Information Line (833-544-2374) has mental & physical health resources of all kinds to share with you. They are open 8a-5p Pacific time, 7 days a week.
- Need help now? The following are staffed 24/7!
- California Anxiety Crisis Line 855-845-7415
- Suicide Prevention & Veterans Crisis Lifeline 800-273-8255
- Disaster Distress Emotional Support Help 800-985-5990
- Friendship Line for Elderly Adults 888-670-1360