Coronavirus is causing difficulties to businesses all around the U.S. We have gathered a list of resources and information to help your business plan and respond during the pandemic. This list will be updated as more resources become available.

General Resources

  • Families First Coronavirus Response Act

The Senate passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, an economic stimulus plan aimed at addressing the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on Americans and introducing paid sick leave and an expanded family and medical leave act to the nation’s employers.

Click here for a summary of FFCRA

For certain circumstances related to COVID-19, employees will be eligible for:

  • Up to two weeks of sick leave (full pay for self, 2/3 pay for family care) for illness, quarantine, or school closures
  • Up to 12 weeks of Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave for school closures (10 days unpaid and then up to 10 weeks at 2/3 pay)

Effective Date of Law

  • The FMLA and Paid Sick Leave sections discussed below will go into effect on April 1, 2020 and expire December 31, 2020.
  • It appears there is no retroactive application.

Emergency FMLA Expansion

Covered Employers: Employers with fewer than 500 employees are covered.

Covered Employees: Any employee who has been employed for at least 30 calendar days, though employers may be able to exclude employees who are health care providers or emergency responders.

Covered Leave Purpose: To care for a child under 18 of an employee if the child’s school or place of care has been closed, or the childcare provider is unavailable, due to a public health emergency, defined as an emergency with respect to the coronavirus declared by a federal, state, or local authority.

Duration:

  • Up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave.

Compensation:

  • No pay for first 10 days of leave (other paid time off, and emergency sick leave under the FFCRA, may be applied)
  • After 10 days, employers must pay two-thirds of the employee’s regular rate of pay for the number of hours they would normally be scheduled to work, capped at $200/day and $10,000 total.

Reinstatement to Position After Leave:

The same reinstatement provisions apply as under traditional FMLA. However, restoration to position does not apply to employers with fewer than 25 employees if certain conditions are met:

  • The job no longer exists because of changes affecting employment caused by an economic downturn or other operating conditions that affect employment caused by a public health emergency; 
  • The employer makes reasonable efforts to return the employee to an equivalent position; and 
  • The employer makes efforts to contact a displaced employee if anything comes up within a year of when they would have returned to work.

Note: The act reserves the right for the Secretary to exclude certain care providers and first responders from the list of eligible employees and to exempt small businesses with fewer than 50 employees if business viability is jeopardized.

Emergency Paid Sick Leave

Covered Employers: Employers with fewer than 500 employees.

Covered Employees: All employees (no matter how long they have been employed), though employers may be able to exclude employees who are health care providers or emergency responders.

Covered Leave Purposes:

  1. When quarantined or isolated subject to federal, state, or local quarantine/isolation order;
  2. When advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine (due to concerns related to COVID-19);
  3. When experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis;
  4. When caring for an individual doing #1 or #2 (2/3 pay);
  5. When caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed due to COVID-19 (2/3 pay); or
  6. When the employee is experiencing any other substantially similar condition (2/3 pay).

Duration of Leave:

  • Full-time employees are entitled to 80 hours of paid sick leave.
  • Part-time employees are entitled to sick leave equal to the number of hours worked on average over a typical two-week period.

Rate of Pay:

  • Sick leave must be paid at the employee’s regular rate of pay for leave used for the employee’s own illness, quarantine, or care.
  • Sick leave must be paid at two-thirds of the employee’s regular rate if taken to care for a family member or to care for a child whose school has closed, or if the employee’s childcare provider is unavailable due to the coronavirus.
  • Pay is capped at $511/day and $5,110 total for reasons 1, 2, and 3 described above.
  • Pay is capped at $200/day and $2,000 total for reasons 4, 5, and 6 described above.

Interaction with Other Employer-Provided Paid Sick Leave and other Paid Leave:

  • This act does not preempt existing state and local paid sick leave requirements.
  • Employers cannot require employees to use other leave first.
  • Sick leave provided for under the act does not carry over from year to year, and the requirements expire December 31, 2020.

Notice Requirements:

  • Employers must post a model notice, which will be provided by the federal government.

Note: The act reserves the right for the Secretary to exclude certain care providers and first responders from the list of eligible employees and to exempt small businesses with fewer than 50 employees if business viability is jeopardized.

Payroll Tax Credit

  • Applies to both the emergency FMLA expansion and the emergency sick leave.
  • Dollar for dollar credit for sick leave and paid FMLA wages against the employer portion of Social Security taxes.
  • Refund is possible for amounts that exceed what is available as a credit.
  • Limits on what can be claimed mirror the caps for what must be paid.

Health Plan Benefit Mandate

  • The act requires all insured and self-funded medical plans, including grandfathered plans, to cover diagnostic testing-related services for COVID-19 at 100 percent without any deductibles or co-pays.
  • Examples include services provided by doctors, emergency rooms, and urgent care centers leading up to the decision that testing is needed, along with the actual lab-based testing.
  • The mandate does not apply to treatment

 

  • Coronavirus Tax Relief 

The IRS has a special webpage, Coronavirus Tax Relief at https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus,  that focuses on steps to help taxpayers, businesses and others affected by the coronavirus. This page will be updated as new information is available and is in English and Spanish

News Releases

  • IR-2020-58, March 21, 2020 – The Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service announced today that the federal income tax filing due date is automatically extended from April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020.
  • IR-2020-57, March 20, 2020 – Today the U.S. Treasury Department, Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and the U.S. Department of Labor (Labor) announced that small and midsize employers can begin taking advantage of two new refundable payroll tax credits, designed to immediately and fully reimburse them, dollar-for-dollar, for the cost of providing Coronavirus-related leave to their employees
  • Treasury News Release: Treasury and IRS Issue Guidance on Deferring Tax Payments Due to COVID-19 Outbreak
  • IR-2020-54, IRS: High-deductible health plans can cover coronavirus costs

Statements

  • Taxpayer Assistance Center Closure Statement –  In response to the national emergency and to protect our employees, America’s taxpayers, communities and our partners, the IRS has temporarily closed all Taxpayer Assistance Centers and discontinued face-to-face service throughout the country until further notice.
  • Filing and Payment Deadline Extended to July 15, 2020 – Updated Statement The 2019 income tax filing and payment deadlines for all taxpayers who file and pay their Federal income taxes on April 15, 2020, are automatically extended until July 15, 2020. This relief applies to all individual returns, trusts, and corporations. This relief is automatic, taxpayers do not need to file any additional forms or call the IRS to qualify. This relief also includes estimated tax payments for tax year 2020 that are due on April 15, 2020. Penalties and interest will begin to accrue on any remaining unpaid balances as of July 16, 2020. You will automatically avoid interest and penalties on the taxes paid by July 15. Individual taxpayers who need additional time to file beyond the July 15 deadline can request a filing extension by filing Form 4868 through their tax professional, tax software or using the Free File link on IRS.gov. Businesses who need additional time must file Form 7004.

Guidance

Tax Help

IRS has several online resources to help taxpayers.

  • Free File – prepare and file your federal income tax return for free using tax preparation and filing software.
  • Where’s My Refund? – is an online tool that will track your tax refund. You will need your Social security number or ITIN, your filing status and your exact refund amount to use the tool.
  • Online Payment Agreements – you can apply for a payment plan online to pay off your balance over time.
  • IRS2Go mobile app – Check your refund status, make a payment, find free tax preparation assistance, sign up for helpful tax tips, and more!
  • Online Account – use this tool to view: Your payoff amount, updated for the current calendar day, the balance for each tax year for which you owe, up to 24 months of your payment history and key information from your current tax year return as originally filed.

Social Media

  • IRS Social Media– social media tools with the latest information on taxes, products and services.

Other Resources

 

  •  Important Rules On Filing Claims During Temporary Shutdowns- GA DOL

The Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) has adopted an emergency Rule 300-2-4-0.5 Partial Claims, effective March 16, 2020. The rule mandates all Georgia employers to file partial claims online on behalf of their employees for any week during which an employee (full-time/part-time) works less than full-time due to a partial or total company shutdown caused by the COVID-19 public health emergency. Any employer found to be in violation of this rule will be required to reimburse GDOL for the full amount of unemployment insurance benefits paid to the employee. Download the How Employers File Partial Claims Desk-Aid found on the GDOL Alert Page and follow the step-by-step instructions.

Filing partial claims results in your employees receiving unemployment insurance (UI) benefit payments faster, usually within 48 hours for claims filed electronically. Employees for whom you file a partial claim are NOT required to report to a Georgia Department of Labor career center, register for employment services, or look for other work.

Please continue to monitor gdol.ga.gov for any updates to these guidelines.

 

  • $2 Trillion Stimulus Package

President Trump has signed the $2 trillion stimulus package, meaning the more than $350 billion in loans and payroll tax credits included to help small businesses can start getting distributed. For more information on what is included in the bill and how it can affect your business visit the following link:  https://www.linkedin.com/feed/news/small-business-is-getting-relief-4798548/

  • Paycheck Protection Program

This past week the US government passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act- a $2 Trillion dollar stimulus bill. The main goal for the bill will be to provide assistance and cash to both businesses and individuals during the current economic crisis. 

For more information on who can apply, how, and forgiveness view the following link. https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/paycheck-protection-program-ppp

 

Financial Resources

  • SBA Loans 

In response to the economic toll COVID-19 is taking on small businesses, 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 as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Upon a request received from a state’s or territory’s Governor, SBA will issue under its own authority, as provided by the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act that was recently signed by the President, an Economic Injury Disaster Loan declaration.

The SBA strongly recommends that business owners who are seeking an SBA loan to move forward with both registering and applying on the SBA website. https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/disaster-assistance

 

  • Business Continuity Loan Fund- Invest Atlanta

To ensure the viability of city businesses and to help sustain employment, Invest Atlanta has established a Business Continuity Loan Fund (BCLF) with $1.5 million of funding from the City of Atlanta. The fund will offer small businesses zero-interest loans to address a lack of working capital and cash flows as a result of reduced consumer demand, the ability to fulfill product or service orders and other economic conditions.

Visit the following website for more information and to apply. https://www.investatlanta.com/business-continuity-loan-fun

  • Economic injury disaster loans (EIDL)

Economic injury disaster loans (EIDL) are now eligible for up to 12 month deferments, even up to $2 million! These payment deferment should help small businesses in Georgia recover quicker. Apply: http://sba.gov/disaster Call 1(800) 659-2955 email [email protected]  

  • Facebook Small Business Grants Program

Facebook is offering up to $100 million in cash as well as Ad credits to help during this difficult time. Details on which type of businesses are eligible will be coming soon. For more information and updates view the following page. https://www.facebook.com/business/boost/grant

 

  • American Express Waiving Interests and Late Fees

For more information please visit: https://www.americanexpress.com/us/customer-service/financial-hardship.html