California Coronavirus (COVID-19) in California – https://covid19.ca.gov/
The Center for Disease Control – https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
Riverside County Public Health – https://rivcoph.org/coronavirus
San Bernardino County Public Health – http://wp.sbcounty.gov/dph/
California Disability-Senior Community Action Network (Marty Omoto) sends out up-to-date reporting on legislative and policy news. To sign up for these emails, contact Marty Omoto at email@example.com
- Governor Newsom has issued a series of executive orders. Most recent and significant is a statewide “stay at home” order. You can still leave the house for grocery shopping, to get medication, and to exercise (biking, jogging). Social distancing is required.
- California has a main website for coronavirus information, at www.covid19.ca.gov.
- The Franchise Tax Board is delaying the due date to file and pay taxes until July 15th, aligned with the IRS.
- The Small Business Administration has been granted the authority to issue up to $7 billion in loans for disaster relief. Today, in our home state of Michigan, many counties are now listed as Presidential and SBA Declared Disaster Areas related to COVID-19. The SBA can provide up to $2,000,000 to be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other bills that cannot be paid because of the impact of COVID-19. The interest rate for these loans is 3.75% for businesses (and 2.75% for non-profits) without credit elsewhere. If you have credit elsewhere, you are not eligible for these loans. See https://www.sba.gov/about-sba/sba-newsroom/press-releases-media-advisories/sba-provide-disaster-assistance-loans-small-businesses-impacted-coronavirus-covid-19 for more information.
- The IRS recently delayed payment of various taxes, including for individuals and businesses, until July 15th. In a tweet Friday, March 20th. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has indicated the deadline to file taxes will also be moved to July 15th. Americans receiving tax refunds are urged to file their taxes ASAP to get their annual refund.
- The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has been approving various state waivers for care. For example, Washington state has been approved to let Intermediate Care Facilities for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (ICF/IDDs), be reimbursed for services provided during an evacuation to an unlicensed facility. Also, telehealth for a range of services is expanding.
- Federal student loans will have a zero percent interest rate for the next 60 days. Borrowers can also request a two month payment suspension.
- The Small Business Administration is offering disaster loans to affected businesses, including non-profits.
- The Public Charge rule, related to immigrants, will not be applied for COVID-19. In a formal statement, “USCIS will neither consider testing, treatment, nor preventative care (including vaccines, if a vaccine becomes available) related to COVID-19 as part of a public charge inadmissibility determination.”
- Families First Corona Virus Response Act
The Families First Corona Virus Response Act has now been signed by President Trump and requires implementation by April 2, 2020. Two sections of this new law apply to private employers and may be of interest to our clients. This section of the law creates a new category of Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) coverage under which smaller employers, those under 50 employees, must comply with the FMLA. Normally, smaller employers are exempted from FMLA coverage. Under this new law, employers must provide up to 12 weeks of emergency sick leave for employees who are unable to work to care for a child under the age of 18 if the child’s school or daycare is closed. The first 10 days of leave under this section may be unpaid, however, the employee must be paid at least 2/3 of the regular rate (subject to a cap of $200 per day and up to $10,000 during the period of leave) thereafter. Generally speaking, employees who use or take emergency sick leave must be returned to their previous position upon return to the office.Emergency Paid Sick Leave ActUnder this law, private businesses with fewer than 500 employees must provide paid sick leave. However, the Department of Labor can exempt businesses under 50 employees in those cases where the imposition of this requirement would jeopardize the viability of the business. Paid sick leave must be provided under a number of scenarios, including:
If the employee is subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine order;
The employee has been advised to self-quarantine by a health care provider;
The employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and is waiting on a medical diagnosis;
The employee is caring for someone under quarantine order, who has been advised to self-quarantine, or is experiencing symptoms; and
The employee is caring for a child and the school or place of care has been closed or is unavailable due to COVID-19 precautions.Full-time employees receive 80 hours of paid sick leave and part-time employees receive paid sick leave in the amount of hours equal to the “number of hours that such employee works, on average, over a 2-week period.” The pay for these benefits has also changed. If paid leave is being taken for an employee’s own condition and not that of a relative, the employee must be paid their regular wages subject to a cap of $511 per day or $5,110 in total. If the employee seeks paid leave to act as a caregiver, the employee must be paid 2/3 of their normal wages subject to a cap of $200 per day or up to $2,000 in total.Within seven days, the Secretary of Labor will draft notices concerning these changes, which must be posted within the workplace or otherwise disseminated to employees. Employers will also have the right to seek tax credits for qualified sick leave wages paid for each calendar quarter. Emergency sick leave must be provided regardless of the length of employment.
If you need help navigating these strange times, we are here for you. We will all get through this together and we remain committed to helping you and your business during and after COVID-19 makes its way into the history books.