CARES Act FAQs

Small Businesses


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CARES Act - FAQs

Nonprofits


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CARES Act - FAQs

Individuals


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Families First FAQs

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Families First FAQs

Public Entities


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Families First - FAQs

YES, if you have 1 to 500 employees.

Under the Act employees are provided with 10 days of emergency paid sick leave and it expands the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to all employers with less than 50 employees.  It also expands the allowable reasons for leave under FMLA to include employees who cannot work (or telecommute) because they must stay home to care for a child under 18 if their school or place of care is closed for a public health emergency.

You must provide 12 weeks of leave to your employees request it because they must stay home (and cannot telecommute) to take care of a child under 18 if their school or place of care is closed for a public health emergency.  The first 10 days are unpaid, for the subsequent days you must pay your employees at a rate of 2/3 their normal salary capped at $200 per day and a total of $10,000 per employee.

Wages paid for expanded FMLA are not subject to the employer share of FICA tax AND the employer share of the Medicare tax will be refunded as part of the credit you will receive.

Also, if your employee wants to use the Sick Leave provided by the Act, or any other paid leave that you provide for the first two weeks of FMLA leave that is unpaid, you must allow them to do so.

Keep in mind if you are already subject to FMLA the traditional FMLA is still in effect this is just an expansion.

If a employee is taking emergency paid sick leave because they have COVID-19 and their condition rises to the level of a serious health condition, and they have used all 80 hours available under the Act, then to continue leave beyond the two week paid emergency sick leave they would fall under your normal FMLA requirements.  They will be required to provide any medical certifications that you have previously required.

If you were subject to FMLA prior to April 1, 2020, your employee’s eligibility for expanded family and medical leave depends on how much leave they have already taken during the 12-month period that you use for FMLA leave.  Employees may take a total of 12 workweeks for FMLA or expanded family and medical leave reason during a 12-month period.  If your employee has already take some, but not all, 12 workweeks of leave under FMLA during the current 12-month period, they may take the remaining portion of leave available.  If they have already take 12 workweeks of regular FMLA during this 12-month period, they may not take additional expanded family and medical leave.

You have fewer than 500 employees if, at the time your employee’s leave is to be taken, you employ fewer than 500 full-time and part-time employees within the United States, which includes any State of the United States, the District of Columbia, or any Territory or possession of the United States.

In making this determination, you should include:

  • employees on leave;
  • temporary employees who are jointly employed by you and another employer (regardless of whether the jointly-employed employees are maintained on only your or another employer’s payroll); and
  • day laborers supplied by a temporary agency (regardless of whether you are the temporary agency or the client firm if there is a continuing employment relationship).

You should not include:  workers who are independent contractors under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), as they are not considered employees for purposes of the 500-employee threshold.

No – employees must be employed at least 30 days before they are entitled to the benefit.  But keep in mind once they hit the 30 day employment mark they do be qualified for the leave.

Also, if you have Health care providers or emergency responders, you can exclude them.

A Health Care Provider is anyone employed at any doctor’s office, hospital, health care center, clinic, post-secondary educational institution offering health care instruction, medical school, local health department or agency, nursing facility, retirement facility, nursing home, home health care provider, any facility that performs laboratory or medical testing, pharmacy, or any similar institution, employer, or entity.  This also includes any individual employed by an entity that contracts with any of the above institutions, employers, or entities to provide services or to maintain the operation of the facility.  This also includes anyone employed by any entity that provides medical services, produces medical products, or is otherwise involved in the making of COVID-19 related medical equipment, tests, drugs, vaccines, diagnostic vehicles, or treatments.

An Emergency Responder is anyone who is necessary for the provision of transport, care, healthcare, comfort, and nutrition of such patients, or whose services are otherwise needed to limit the spread of COVID-19.  Including military or national guard, law enforcement officers, correctional institution personnel, fire fighters, emergency medical services personnel, physicians, nurses, public health personnel, emergency medical technicians, paramedics, emergency management personnel, 911 operators, public works personnel, and persons with skills or training in operating specialized equipment or other skills needed to provide aid in a declared emergency as well as individuals who work for such facilities employing these individuals and whose work is necessary to maintain the operation of the facility.

No, however, the DOL encourages employers and employees to collaborate to achieve maximum flexibility.  It should only be permitted when the employer and employee agree upon a schedule.  For example: your employees need to be off, to care for their child whose school is closed, on Monday, Wednesday and Friday but is available to work on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Another possible example is intermittent leave in less than 8 hour increments: if the employee is teleworking and can work from 8am to 2:30pm and then take leave from 2:30 – 4pm every day.

Yes, job restoration is required.  Employers with less than 25 employees do not have to hold the job for the employee if:  the job no longer exists because of changes affecting employment caused by the public health emergency AND reasonable efforts to find equivalent positions within the company were made (and failed) AND employees are contacted if anything comes up within a year of when their expanded FMLA benefits ended.

All employees, no matter how long employed are entitle to 10 days of paid leave at their normal rate of pay (up to cap of $511/day and $5,110 total) when:

  1. Employee is subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order
  2. Employee is advised by health care provider to self-quarantine. (self-imposed quarantine without medical advice does not qualify under the Act.)
  3. Employee is seeking medical diagnosis for symptoms of COVID-19

ALL employees, no matter how long employed are entitled to 10 days of paid leave at 2/3 of their normal rate of pay (up to cap of $200/day and $2,000 total) when:

  1. Employee is caring for an individual (does not have to be family member) who is subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order.
  2. Employee is caring for their child if school or place of care is closed.
  3. Employee is experiencing other substantially similar conditions. – when guidance as to what qualifies as “substantially similar conditions” is provided we will post it here.

Wages paid for emergency sick leave are NOT subject to the employers share of FICA tax AND the employers share of the Medicare tax will be refunded as part of the credit you receive.

Yes, part-time employees get the number of hours worked in a two-week period averaged over the last six months.  If the part-time employee has not been employed six months use the number of hours you and your employee agreed that the employee would work upon hiring.  If there is no such agreement, you may calculate the appropriate number of hours of leave based on the average hours per day the employee was scheduled to work over the entire term of his or her employment.  Full-time employees are entitled to 80 hours.

The rate of pay used to calculate the paid leave is the average of the employee’s regular rate over a period of up to six months prior to the date on which they take the leave.  This rate must also include any paid overtime, commissions, tips, or piece rates paid during that time.  If your employee has not been employed by you for six months, the rate used to calculate the paid leave is the average of what the employee has been paid for their entire employment.

No, you cannot require employees to use any existing paid leave before they use this leave.

Yes, you may allow your employees to use the preexisting employer-provided paid leave to get the additional 1/3 of their normal earning so that they will receive their full normal earnings.  However, you will not be able to claim the credit for these additional hours.

No, however, the DOL encourages employers and employees to collaborate to achieve maximum flexibility.  DOL suggest that IF your employees are teleworking or if they are using the emergency paid sick leave for the first 2 weeks of expanded FMLA that would be unpaid otherwise that you allow them to take it intermittently.

If they are working at their usual worksite emergency paid sick leave must be taken in full-day increments.  It cannot be take intermittently they must continue to take paid sick leave until they either (1) use the full amount of paid sick leave or (2) no longer have a qualifying reason for taking paid sick leave.  This limit is imposed because if the employee is sick or possibly sick with COVID-19, or caring for an individual who is sick or possibly sick with COVID-19, the intent of the emergency paid sick leave is to provide such paid sick leave as necessary to keep them from spreading the virus to others.  If they no longer have a qualifying reason for taking paid sick leave before they use all 80 hours, they may take any remaining paid sick leave at a later time, until December 31, 2020, if another qualifying reason occurs.

No. The total number of hours for which employees receive paid sick leave is capped at 80 hours under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act.

Employees may take up to two weeks—or ten days—(80 hours for a full-time employee, or for a part-time employee, the number of hours equal to the average number of hours that the employee works over a typical two-week period) of paid sick leave for any combination of qualifying reasons.

No, you cannot require an employee to search for or find a replacement employee to cover the hours they will be out under the Families First Act.

Yes, you can request an exemption if you have less than 50 employees, and if complying would jeopardize your businesses viability as a going concern.  You may claim this exemption if an authorized officer of the business has determined that:

  1. Providing these benefits would result in your business expenses and financial obligations exceeding available business revenues and cause you to go out of business.
  2. The absence of the employee(s) requesting leave under this Act would be a substantial risk to the financial health or operational capabilities of the business because of their specialized skills, knowledge of the business, or responsibilities; or
  3. You do not have sufficient workers who are able, willing, and qualified, and who will be available at the time and place needed, to perform the labor or services provided by the employee(s) requesting leave and these labor or services are needed for your business to operate at a minimal capacity.  (Basically you don’t have enough employees to run your business if some or all of them request the leave)

DOL has not issued where or how you send this exemption when instructions are available we will post them here.

Also you can request an advance to help cash flow the payment of these benefits from the US Treasury.  To request an advance from the IRS use Form 7200 located HERE.  

Yes, you can request an exemption if you have less than 50 employees, and if complying would jeopardize your businesses viability as a going concern.  Instructions on how to request the exemption will be posted here when the Department of Labor provides them.

Also you can request an advance to help cash flow the payment of these benefits from the US Treasury.

When instructions for how to request the advance are provided we will post them here.

You are required to inform your employees.  You must post the model notice that DOL provides.  Click HERE to connect to the DOL website where instructions on where and how to post the notice and a link to the poster itself that you can download or print are available.

Eventually you will be reimbursed by the Federal Government.  However, plan on a time delay between when you have to pay your employees and when the Federal government will pay you back. After making your first payment to an employee under this provision, you get to keep ALL the payroll taxes that you would normally remit (including Federal income taxes, employer and employee share of FICA and Medicare taxes).

Calculate the credit you can take by adding together the following three numbers:

  1. The amount you pay your employees (under this Act) plus
  2. The amount of the employer’s share of Medicare tax that you pay on these wages for sick leave and FMLA under this provision plus
  3. The allocable portion of what the employer pays for Health Insurance for the employee

 

Keep all documentation for the above expenses including your calculations.

You will calculate your normal payroll tax deposit, then you will deduct the amount of your credit. If your tax deposit is larger than your credit, pay your difference to the IRS as you always do. If the credit is larger than your tax deposit, request a refund from the IRS for the difference.

To request a refund from the IRS Use Form 7200 located HERE

This leave does not carry over.  If you have someone on one of these leaves as of December 31, 2020 that is the last day they can use these leaves.  On January 1, 2021 they can transition to using any paid leave that you provide or to unpaid leave.

You must pay them for the days they were on the leave prior to the date you laid them off or furloughed them.  As of the date you lay them off or furlough them you no longer are required to pay the emergency sick leave or expanded family medical leave.

You must pay them for the days they were on the leave prior to the date you laid them off or furloughed them.  As of the date you lay them off or furlough them you no longer are required to pay the emergency sick leave or expanded family medical leave.

No, if you reduced their hours because you did not have work for them to perform they may not use paid sick leave or expanded FMLA for the hours that they are no longer scheduled to work.

You must count the payroll credit received as part of your gross income for the tax year.

If you are forced to close your business and either temporarily or permanently lay off your employees, you must provide notification of the availability of unemployment compensation at the time of separation.

Self-employed taxpayers are allowed a credit against self-employment tax.  The credit is subject to the daily limit of 67% of average daily self-employment income, or $200.  Self-employed individual must maintain documentation to establish self-employment eligibility as prescribed by the Secretary of the Treasury.

Also, any wages considered in determining the payroll credit cannot be used in determining the amount of credit under IRS Code Section 45S related to paid family and medical leave.

U.S. Department of Labor (click HERE)

U.S. Internal Revenue Service (click HERE)

Seyfarth (Legal) (click HERE)


SBA & Disaster Loan Funding FAQs

Yes! You can get started by visiting https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/ and setting up an account there.

You are encouraged to start the application process, but you cannot complete it until your county is declared a disaster area. Once that happens, you will receive an email from the SBA informing you that you can complete the application process.

The SBA has a list of states and counties that are currently designated as disaster areas, including those designated specifically for COVID-19 and those designated for other reasons, such as drought. You can find the full, searchable list HERE.

Fill out the Estimated Disaster Economic Injury Worksheet for Businesses. In order for a county to be declared a disaster, at least five businesses in the county must submit this form. This form will tell the Small Business Administration how your business and area is negatively impacted and will help ensure your county is designated a disaster area.

In Arkansas, you can submit the form to businesscovid19@adem.arkansas.gov.

Outside of Arkansas,  you can submit the form to FOCWFieldOpsCadre@sba.gov.

Yes. Your lender must include specific language in the loan document. If you apply for interim financing, ask your lender to ensure the language in the loan agreement will support a takeout if your disaster loan is approved.

Your loan will need to meet the SBA’s underwriting guidelines. SBA will be available to answer questions and assist you through the process.

Communities Unlimited can only answer on behalf of its own process, so borrowers should contact their lenders to understand and negotiate their terms.

Communities Unlimited will work with its borrowers who are engaged and who provide the required information.


Communities Unlimited Assistance

Yes! We are working hard to assist you. We are using top technology to stay connected and keep in touch in order to attend to your needs.

For the well-being of our staff, partners and clients we are working remotely and remain available by phone, video conference, email, social media and our website contact forms.  Call 479-443-2700 or connect through the Contact Us form on this website.

We are offering an immediate 90-day deferment of payments. We understand this may not be resolved in 90 days, but this will give you time to develop strategies for your business as that deadline approaches.

For businesses who need assistances with planning strategies for their business, Communities Unlimited has consultants who can provide assistance virtually.

Yes! You can apply for a loan through Communities Unlimited’s lending programs now.

A critical question to consider is whether the loan allows you to make critical changes to your business model for immediate and long-term success.

You can start the loan application process through our website HERE.

You can call our main number at (479) 443-2700 and someone will assist you. Or you can use our Contact Form.