COVID-19 and Small Business
Covid 19 - Corona Virus Update 2020
Due to the Covid-19 virus response, Governor Kate Brown issued Executive Order 20-12 on March 23, 2020. There are no stated restrictions to service companies. Link to the State of Oregon Corona Virus Page, click HERE
Here is some general advice for businesses in Oregon.
· Adhere to the specific guidelines concerning staffing, working at home, etc. Pay close attention to the staffing restrictions and policies to maintain social distancing.
· If you offer service prepare a detailed policy on how that will be handled and send it out to your retail and service customers.
· Update your websites and social media pages with specifically worded policies that comply with the Governor's executive order 20-21.
· Ensure the safety of your employees and customers while doing this by disinfecting surfaces, washing hands and maintaining social distancing of 6 feet or more.
Finally, be optimistic. Consider uplifting messages through social media to encourage people.
Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) 3-27-2020
Overview: The CARES Act is an extensive piece of legislation that provides emergency assistance and health care response for individuals, families, and businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. While CARES has multiple components, this alert focuses on the overarching employment aspects of the bill.
A one-time cash rebate of $1,200 per eligible individual ($2,400 for joint filers and $500 per child) for income less than $75,000 ($150,000 in the case of a joint return). The income is based on either the individual’s 2018 or 2019 tax filings. The cash rebates start to phase down as income increases and individuals making more than $99,000 ($198,000 for couples) will not receive the cash rebate.
Federal unemployment insurance assistance for unemployment, partial unemployment, or inability to work due to COVID-19. Specifically, the federal government will provide qualifying individuals with unemployment insurance payments of $600 per week (up to 4 months until July 31st), which is in addition to that individual’s unemployment insurance payments administered by the state. Moreover, CARES allows individuals to receive unemployment insurance payment benefits for an additional 13 weeks. The unemployment insurance assistance also extends to self-employment individuals, gig workers, independent contractors and freelancers, all of whom historically would not qualify for such benefits.
Employees who worked for at least 30 days and were laid off on or after March 1, 2020, do not need to wait an additional 30 days to apply for Emergency Family Medical Leave.
The Act specifies that an employer’s requirement to provide EPSL to an employee ceases with whichever comes earlier: the time when the employer has paid that employee for paid leave under this section for an equivalent of 80 hours of work OR upon the employee's return to work after taking paid leave under this section.
Small businesses with 500 or fewer employees with emergency grants and a forgivable loan program. Additionally, the Act sets aside loans and other money for large corporations. For further information on the small business protection assistance, reference Title I of Division A of the CARES Act.
The act also provides several options for retirement accounts. If that is of interest, check out the details with your CPA or financial advisor.