The coronavirus update from March 26, 2020
Service companies are the backbone of the economy and Housecall Pro is committed to doing everything we can to help during the Coronavirus pandemic.
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March 26, 2020 coronavirus update
The Families First Act and Federal Stimulus Bill – what does this mean for your business?
The World Health Organization reported 414,179 confirmed cases (40,712 new) and 18,440 deaths (2,202 new) globally.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 54,453 total (confirmed and presumptive) cases (10,270 new) and 737 deaths (193 new) nationwide on March 25.
As things are moving so quickly I looked up the Johns Hopkins dashboard just a few minutes ago and they are now reporting 83,507 US cases and 1,201 deaths as of 4:30 Pacific.
The US now has more confirmed cases than any other country.
More than China and more than Italy.
A record almost 3.3 million workers (3.28 million workers) have filed for unemployment benefits. States with the largest increases in unemployment include Pennsylvania, California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Ohio. Industries like restaurants, hotels, automakers, and airlines have been most impacted.
The US Senate unanimously approved a $2 trillion dollar relief package. While it still needs to go to the House, if approved, this package would become the largest federal stimulus package in US history.
Globally, healthcare systems are struggling to keep up with the increased number of coronavirus patients and a growing shortage of medical supplies. More countries around the world have enacted dramatic measures to limit the rate spread. Several countries have enlisted their military and police in efforts to ensure that their citizens follow social distancing best practices. Some countries, like India, have had trouble enforcing such measures given the size of the country’s population, and just how fast the announcements have been implemented.
Families First Coronavirus Response Act
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act
SAWZALL® requires businesses under 500 employees – so that should be most of us on this call – to offer their employees up to two weeks paid sick leave and an additional 10 weeks expanded family leave for coronavirus related childcare reasons.
The Act goes into effect next week on Wednesday April 1, 2020, and applies to leave taken between April 1, 2020, and December 31, 2020.
2 Weeks Paid Sick Leave
- Per the law, employees would receive sick leave with full pay (capped at $511 per day) for up to 80 hours if they are unable to work due to quarantine, illness, or school closures related to coronavirus.
- Part-time employees can receive a portion of their paycheck based on their normal hours, as well.
10 Weeks Additional Family and Medical Leave (FMLA) Pay
- In addition, businesses will be responsible to pay two-thirds of an employees’ salary for up to ten weeks of extended family and medical leave if they are unable to work due to a need for leave to care for a child whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19 (capped at $200 per day).
Per the Act, employers can receive 100% of the wages they paid in sick leave or FMLA related to the crisis back as a tax credit.
- Because the Act caused understandable confusion among employers, the U.S. Treasury, IRS, and U.S. Department of Labor have since clarified.
- To take immediate advantage of the paid leave credits, employers can retain and access funds that they would otherwise pay to the IRS in payroll taxes.
- If those amounts are not sufficient to cover the cost of paid leave, employers can seek an expedited advance from the IRS by submitting a streamlined claim form that will be released next week.
- Businesses with under 50 employees can file for an exemption if it would provide hardship for the business.
- The Department of Labor is still working on the eligibility requirements for this exemption and how to file.
Learn more from the Department of Labor:
- General Questions and Answers about Employee Paid Leave Rights
- Fact Sheet for Employees
- Fact Sheet for Employer
Tonight’s Topic: 2 trillion dollars, 3 months to breathe – what’s in it for me?
- The Senate passed the bill, 96-0, and the House is set to follow suit Friday.
- This is an unbelievable effort of $2 trillion with both parties coming together to do the right thing for our economy
- This is an opportunity to help you stabilize your business very quickly, stabilize your employees and keep this going forward for the next three months until they throw out the next thing to do if we need to go that much longer
- This is putting a mechanism that really helps us carry the next three months in this country, which we think will be the most difficult time as the virus source to ravage his way through the country
Direct Payments to Individuals
- Single Americans would receive $1,200
- Married couples would get $2,400
- Parents would see $500 for each child under age 17
- Payments would start to phase out for individuals with adjusted gross incomes of more than $75,000
- Those making more than $99,000 would not qualify
- The thresholds are doubled for couples
- 3-6 weeks is the timeline
SBA Loan Assistance
- Requirement: under 500 employees
- The government is backstopping this deal. It’s a free money loan up to $10 million for your business
- Using a 2.5 times multiplier on your January and February business expenses
- As long as you put it towards your rent, your employees compensation and benefits and so on, you will not have to pay it back to the government
Rehiring Employees That You Laid Off
- If you already took actions this week or even last week to lay people off to reduce hours. What the government wants you to do and is trying to inspire you to do with this part of this provision is to hire people back, even if they’re working part time, but just keep their pay going to them
- And even if they’re sitting idle relative to where you want them to be this time of year, at least the money is flowing from you to them and keeping them employed and a roof over their head.
- If you don’t rehire your employees, unemployment benefits at both state and federal levels, but keep in mind this employee no longer works for you and they are free to get a different job or start their own business
- Federal Intervention: Supplement up to $600 a week on top of your state benefits which range from $200-550 a week for the next four months
- Additional support for partially employed, independent contractors, self-employed, and gig economy workers
- The bill states that anyone facing a financial hardship from coronavirus shall be given a forbearance on a federally backed mortgage loan of up to 60 days, which can be extended for four periods of 30 days each.
- Those with federally backed mortgage loans who have tenants would also not be allowed to evict tenants solely for failure to pay rent for a 120-day period, and they may not charge fees or penalties to tenants for failing to pay rent.
Keep Your Employees Hired and Busy
- Give your employees purpose, even if you don’t have work for them. Use this time to have them build skills, or drive your vehicles around making deliveries and advertising your business out on the streets.
Keep Your Industry an Essential Service
We’re making it easy to write to your government representatives and send them a letter urging them to classify your industry as an essential service during this time of uncertainty.
Housecall Pro is offering the Coronavirus Evening Update for Home Service Businesses for informational purposes only and to foster thoughtful communication and discussion regarding the COVID-19 pandemic; Housecall Pro is not offering advisory services or otherwise advising or representing any members of the group invited to participate. Housecall Pro is not offering legal, medical or other professional advice in the Coronavirus Evening Update and makes no representations or warranties regarding the content of the Coronavirus Evening Update. Participants should obtain independent advice relating to their businesses and their particular circumstances.