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$349 billion payroll program to provide federal assistance to small business owners - KPRC Click2Houston

$349 billion payroll program to provide federal assistance to small business owners - KPRC Click2Houston

$349 billion payroll program to provide federal assistance to small business owners - KPRC Click2Houston

Posted: 03 Apr 2020 06:38 PM PDT

HOUSTON – Cavo Coffee, a specialty coffee house in West University, serves brews, espressos and baked goods.

Owner Michael Caplan said he is trying his best to survive the coronavirus business crash, which is ravaging many restaurants and small businesses throughout the country.

"I've had to layoff half my staff and close one of my stores completely right now," Caplan said.

The Small Business Administration opened registration Friday for the Payroll Protect Program. A new program that will save businesses and employees, Caplan said.

"With this program, I am going to be able to hire back all of my employees, pay them their full salaries, and any benefits they have coming to them. The government will pay that money back to me," he said.

Jerry Tarnopol, the Executive Vice President of SBA Lending with Community Bank of Texas, explained how the $349 billion payroll program would work for small business owners.

"You will get two-and-a-half times what you would normally spend in an average month on payroll to pay your employees," he said. "You don't have to pay that money back as long as you keep everyone working for you up to June 30th."

Caplan said he spends $15,000 on average each month for Cavo Coffee's payroll. He said the government would provide about $37,000 for his employees.

The payroll program is a lifeline for millions of small business owners whose businesses have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

"For me, this is the difference between going out of business and surviving," Caplan said.

Small-business exemptions to COVID-19 emergency leave, expanded FMLA clarified - CDA (California Dental Association)

Posted: 03 Apr 2020 12:05 PM PDT

The Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA) and the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLEA) took effect April 1 with some clarification on employer exemptions to the requirements to provide employees with leave for reasons related to COVID-19. The Department of Labor issued temporary regulations clarifying the exemptions for small businesses with fewer than 50 employees and also clarified that in order for eligible employees to request the leave under EFMLEA or EPSLA, they must be working in some capacity.

If an employer's business closed prior to April 1 and temporarily furloughed employees, those furloughed employees would not be eligible for the emergency leave benefits until the practice is operational. Any employees who have continued to work or are working at a minimal part-time capacity on or after April 1 may be eligible under the qualifying circumstances as listed in the law.   

The two federal leave acts are part of the larger Families First Coronavirus Response Act, phase II, which was signed into law March 18 by President Donald Trump. Most private businesses with fewer than 500 employees are required to comply with the requirements to provide the emergency paid leave and expanded FMLA to eligible employees.

There are two optional exemptions that the labor department further clarified April 1 through the temporary regulations: (1) the exemption for businesses with fewer than 50 employees and (2) the exemption for health care providers, which is specifically defined and may not include dental offices. CDA is seeking further insight from the Department of Labor. Unless and until CDA receives direction that dentists are included in the definition of health care provider, they should assume they are not.

According to the regulations, employers can consider claiming the small-business exemption from complying with the EPSLA an EFMLEA if they determine that one of the following apply:

  • The provision of paid sick leave or expanded FMLA would cause the business's expenses and financial obligations to exceed available business revenues and cause the business to cease operating at a minimal capacity.
  • The absence of the employee or employees requesting paid sick leave or expanded FMLA would entail a substantial risk to the financial health or operational capabilities of the small business because of their specialized skills, knowledge of the business or responsibilities.
  • There are no sufficient workers who are able, willing and qualified to perform, when and where needed, the labor or services of the employee or employees requesting paid sick leave or expanded FMLA, and the labor or services are needed for the small business to operate at minimal capacity.

Any exemptions should be carefully considered. Employers who are considering the small-business exemption may find it difficult to "prove" that providing this emergency leave or paid sick leave would jeopardize the viability of the business given that the wages provided will be refunded dollar for dollar as a tax credit.

Businesses must currently be operating at a minimal capacity to claim the small-business exemption. Many businesses in California have closed temporarily to comply with either the statewide stay-at-home order or their county shelter-in-place order and therefore will not be able to claim the small-business exemption.

Documentation required for employer reimbursement

Employers who are required to comply with the emergency leave will qualify for a dollar-for-dollar reimbursement through tax credits for all qualifying wages (including health care premiums) paid to an employee who takes leave under the act for a qualifying reason up to the appropriate per diem and aggregate payment caps. In order to obtain that reimbursement, employers must obtain from employees any documentation related to the requested leave, such as a notice of school closure from the school administration, a doctor's note or communication from a child care provider.  

Read the labor department's temporary regulations and latest Q&A for complete details. The department published a required workplace notice and also has a fact sheet for employers that covers qualifying reasons for leave, duration of leave, calculation of pay and more.

Small business owners face 'nightmare' situation -

Posted: 03 Apr 2020 09:53 PM PDT

RICHMOND, Va. -- Concerns from small business owners are growing as the government prepares to launch a $359 billion loan program meant to help small businesses in need of financial assistance due to COVID-19.

Retired banker Ray Nasser says that he knows first hand how frustrating the process of trying to get help can be.

"I started in banking business when I was 21 and I was a banker for all those years, certified financial planner for six years," Nasser said.

The 73-year-old now volunteers as a mentor with Richmond based SCORE, an organization that helps advise businesses on loan options.

"I think the small businesses are going to struggle, period," Nasser said.

Nasser said it's been a challenge to find assistance during the current health emergency.

"Well I would call it a crisis," he added.

Because of the crisis, Nasser said that there are opportunities for small businesses to get the financial assistance they need.

The Paycheck Protection Program loan or PPP, is one option, part of the the recently passed, Coronavirus Relief Bill or CARES Act.

Nasser said it helps with payroll.

"It's a forgiven loan for 8 weeks worth of payroll and other fixed expenses. It's a pretty good deal. The governments given you that money," Nasser said.

Another option is an Economic Injury Disaster Loan issued through the Small Business Administration.

"It's a term loan and it's not forgivable, has to be paid back. Money by the SBA instead of the bank," Nasser said.

Right now Nasser said it may be difficult for business owners to get help directly from banks because they are overwhelmed with loan requests.

"The banks, you know they're having trouble dealing with the volume," Nasser said.

He added that any business owner applying for help must be ready to wait.

"It's a mixture of having to be patient and also being persistent," Nasser said.


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