March 16, 2020
To our valued clients,
As the Coronavirus continues to impact our daily lives, we are writing this letter to update you on significant developments. Please note that we are monitoring this situation closely and will continue to update you on relevant items as we learn about them. This situation is fluid and is changing rapidly.
The House passed an emergency relief package on Saturday March 14th aimed to address the economic and societal impacts of Coronavirus on the United States of America. The intent of this legislation is to provide a safety net for families and workers affected by the virus.
1. Paid sick leave
a. Gives some workers 2 weeks of paid sick leave and up to 3 months of paid
family/medical leave equal to no less than two-thirds of their pay
b. Applies to employees of businesses with fewer than 500 employees
c. The Labor Department has the option of exempting workers at any company with fewer than 50 employees if it is determined that it “would jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern”
d. Benefits are limited to workers who are sick, subject to a quarantine or caring for a family member as a direct result of the Coronavirus
e. Currently the bill states that the employer would be responsible for paying the employee sick leave and reimbursed through payroll tax credits
2. Tax Credits
a. The current bill as it stands would provide refundable payroll tax credit through 2020 to employers to cover the wages of employees on sick leave for up to 10 days
b. The credit would be for wages up to $511/day per employee directly affected by Coronavirus or $200/day if sick leave is a result of caring for a family member or child
c. Self-employed individuals would have a similar credit equivalent to the lesser of average daily self-employment income or $511/day per self-employed individual or $200/day if sick leave is a result of caring for a family member or child
d. There is currently no payroll tax holiday in the existing bill
e. The Bill which was passed in the House is now sitting in the Senate to be voted upon and eventually brought to the President to be signed into law
3. SBA Lending
a. President Trump has authorized the US Small Business Administration to provide loans up to $2 million for small businesses affected by the Coronavirus
b. The SBA is working directly with Governor DeWine to coordinate loan assistance
c. The following is directly from the SBA website: Link
- SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance will coordinate with the state’s or territory’s Governor to submit the request for Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance.
- Once a declaration is made for designated areas within a state, the information on the application process for Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance will be made available to all affected communities.
- These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses without credit available elsewhere; businesses with credit available elsewhere are not eligible. The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75%.
- SBA offers loans with long-term repayments in order to keep payments affordable, up to a maximum of 30 years. Terms are determined on a case-by-case basis, based upon each borrower’s ability to repay.
- SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans are just one piece of the expanded focus of the federal government’s coordinated response, and the SBA is strongly committed to providing the most effective and customer-focused response possible.
For additional information, please contact the SBA disaster assistance customer service center. Call 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339) or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
4. President Trump has indicated that he would like to extend the time to file 2019 individual returns past the April 15th deadline. However, as of March 16, 2020 we have received no guidance from the IRS that the deadline has been officially extended.
State of Ohio
Governor Mike DeWine has ordered bars and restaurant to close all in-house dining as of 9pm on Sunday March 15th. He has signed an executive order to provide unemployment benefits for those affected by COVID-19. The order indicates that unemployment will apply to those who are selfquarantining and those whose employers are closing. The usual 1-week requirement of unemployment and actively seeking employment is being waived under these circumstances.
1. Furlough vs layoff employee
a. Should you choose to furlough employees due to the Coronavirus you are required to continue paying the employee benefits.
b. A furloughed employee does not earn a wage and does not report for work which can save on payroll expenses. Note – the employee in this situation cannot perform ANY work, not even answer a phone call
c. Laying off an employee would terminate all benefits and payroll effective as of the layoff date
2. HHL Group Operation
a. We will continue to operate as usual with our normal business hours
b. We have increased our daily cleaning/disinfection processes in the office including wiping door handles with disinfectant wipes and cleaning all surfaces with Lysol
c. We highly encourage you to send your information electronically or via U.S. Mail and replace in-person meetings with phone or video chat meetings
3. We have instructed our employees to remain at their homes if they feel sick. If anyone comes to our offices appearing to be sick, they will be asked to leave for the safety of our employees and other clients without exception.
4. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we work together to provide you with the best possible service.