COVID-19 MEMBER GUIDE


NEW Gov. Evers: Directs Dept. of Health Services to issue safer at home order

Essential Business Declaration - MOre info & specifics Here

Temporary Non-Enforcement Period Applicable to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)
Specifically, the Department will not bring enforcement actions against any public or private employer for violations of the Act occurring within 30 days of the enactment of the FFCRA (i.e. March 18 through April 17, 2020), provided that the employer has made reasonable, good faith efforts to comply with the Act. For purposes of this non-enforcement position, an employer who is found to have violated the FFCRA acts “reasonably” and “in good faith” when certain facts are present. Please review these facts and other aspects of the Temporary Non-Enforcement Period right here.

Gov. Tony Evers directed Department of Health Services (DHS) Secretary-designee Andrea Palm to issue a Safer at Home order that prohibits all nonessential travel, with some exceptions as clarified and defined in the order.

The order is effective at 8 am on Weds., March 25, 2020 and will remain in effect until
8 am Fri., April 24, 2020, or until a superseding order is issued.

Individuals do not need special permission to leave their homes, but they must comply with this order as to when it is permissible to leave home. Similarly, if a business is an Essential Business or Operation as defined in this order, it does not need documentation or certification to continue its work that is done in compliance with this order.

Businesses allowed to operate under the Safer at Home order include, but are not limited to:

- Health care operations, including home health workers;
- Critical infrastructure; Businesses that provide food, shelter, and social services, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise vulnerable individuals;
- Fresh and non-perishable food retailers, including convenience stores, grocery stores, farmers’ markets, and food banks;
- Businesses that ship or deliver groceries, food and goods directly to residences;

- Pharmacies, health care supply stores and health care facilities;
- Child care facilities, with some limitations;
- Gas stations and auto repair facilities;
- Banks;
- Laundry businesses, dry cleaners and services necessary for maintaining the safety, sanitation and essential operation of a residence, including garbage collection;
- Hardware stores, plumbers, and electricians;
- Educational institutions, for the purposes of facilitating distance learning;
- Roles required for any business to maintain minimum basic operations, which includes security, and payroll;
- Law and safety, and essential government functions will continue under the recommended action.

The order contains detailed information regarding the exemptions provided to certain businesses. If a business is unsure about whether or not they are exempted from this order, please contact the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation here.
Safer at Home Order Here

Looking to keep up to date on all things COVID-19? Visit our members, The Milwaukee Business Journal Site to stay informed.

 

SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS
SBA LOW INTEREST LOANS AVAILABLE NOW

Small business owners in Wisconsin are currently eligible to apply for a low-interest federal loan for working capital from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19). These federal disaster loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of COVID-19’s impact. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses. The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75%. The SBA offers loans with long-term repayments, up to a maximum of 30 years, in order to keep payments affordable, with terms determined on a case-by-case basis, based upon each borrower’s ability to repay.

SBA Economic Disaster Relief loans take about 3 weeks to process

SBA Econ Disaster loans of $25k or lower don’t require collateral

What businesses are eligible to apply?

SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans (or working capital loans) are available to small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small aquaculture businesses and most private non-profit organizations. The applicant business must have a physical presence in the declared disaster area.

What is the criteria for loan approval?

  • Credit History - Applicants must have a credit history acceptable to SBA.
  • Repayment - SBA must determine that the applicant business has the ability to repay the SBA loan.
  • Eligibility - The applicant business must be physically located in a declared county and suffered working capital losses due to the declared disaster, not due to a downturn in the economy or other reasons.


What forms are needed to apply?

  • Tax Information Authorization (IRS Form 4506T) for the applicant, principals and affiliates.
  • Complete copies of the most recent Federal Income Tax Return.
  • Schedule of Liabilities (SBA Form 2202).
  • Personal Financial Statement (SBA Form 413).
  • Profit and loss statements
  • Monthly sales figures (SBA Form 1368)

Where do businesses apply?

  • Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA’s secure website at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.
  • Paper loan applications can be downloaded from www.sba.gov/disaster. Completed applications should be mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.
  • Disaster loan information and application forms may also be obtained by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955
  • (800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing) or by sending an email to disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.


Where is there local SBA assistance?

For more information and to apply for an SBA federal disaster loan, visit https://sba.gov/coronavirus.
For more information on all federal programs, visit www.usa.gov/coronavirus or www.gobierno.usa.gov/coronavirus (en español).

NEW INFO ON LEGISLATION  

Proposed Federal stimulus package – preliminary overview
 
From MMAC’s governmental affairs team, the following is a preliminary overview of a federal stimulus package that has been agreed to by the White House and U.S. Senate.
 
  • - A $500 billion loan program for businesses - The biggest sticking point between Democrats and Republicans throughout the negotiations was $500 billion worth of emergency loans both for large businesses and municipalities grappling with the coronavirus outbreak. The current agreed-to version contains additional oversight provisions.
 
  • - “Unemployment insurance on steroids” - Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer announced Monday afternoon that unemployment insurance will be expanded to grapple with a new surge in claims, calling it “unemployment insurance on steroids.” The new bill will increase unemployment insurance by $600 per week for four months. This money is in addition to what states pay as a base unemployment salary. This benefit would extend to gig economy workers, freelancers, and furloughed workers who are still getting health insurance from their employers but are not receiving a paycheck.
 
  • - Expanded funds for hospitals, medical equipment, and health care worker protections - In a statement, Schumer reported to Senate Democrats that the latest bill will contain $150 billion for hospitals treating coronavirus patients. Of that money, $100 billion will go to hospitals, $1 billion will go to the Indian Health Service, and the remainder will be used to increase medical equipment capacity.
 
  • - Increased aid to state and local governments - Schumer also said about $150 billion of federal money would be allocated for state and local governments who are dealing with the impacts of the crisis in their local communities, including $8 billion for tribal governments.
 
  • - Direct payments to adults below a certain income threshold - The legislation would include a one-time $1,200 check that would be sent to most adults making $75,000 or less annually, according to past tax returns. A $500 payment would also be sent to cover every child in qualifying households. The final policy marks a significant change from the direct payments initially proposed by Republicans, which would have given less to many individuals who do not have taxable income. It now includes the majority of adults who are under the $75,000 threshold and phases the payment out as people’s incomes increase.
 
  • - Loans to small businesses - There would be $367 billion in the bill aimed at providing loans for small businesses.

US Chamber Summary of Phase 3 Federal COVID-19 Stimulus Package Here

U.S. Sen. Baldwin: Introduces loan forgiveness plan to support small businesses hurt by coronavirus pandemic. See It Here

U.S. Sen. Baldwin: Helps introduce updated emergency paid leave; small business support legislation in response to worsening coronavirus crisis. Read more here

Gov. Evers Issues Emergency Order on Unemployment Benefits. See the full Emergency Order here.

Gov. Tony Evers issued Emergency Order #11, suspending several utility-related administrative rules. The order can be found here.

A MESSAGE FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

“Our first concern is the health and well being of our staff, members, and volunteers. While we are disappointed to postpone our upcoming events, we will continue to serve and support our members and Wisconsin’s veteran business community through this crisis.” - Saul Newton, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Veterans Chamber of Commerce.

We will postpone the following events for the coming month:
La Crosse Chamber Muster on March 24
Milwaukee Chamber Muster & Nonprofit Roundtable on March 26
Janesville Veterans in the Workforce on March 31
Brookfield Veterans in the Workforce on April 9

Rescheduled dates will be announced once they are confirmed. We are working on online learning opportunities in the meantime. More information to follow.
Full Press Release Here

Message From Saul Newton on how the WI Veterans Chamber can help Here 

UNDERSTANDING COVID-19 & HOW TO PLAN

Here are resources to help you plan at work, home and at commercial establishments.

Governor Tony Evers COVID-19 Website Information Here

CDC Poster in English, Spanish

MRA- Pandemic Toolkit

Importance of Flattening the Curve - A Visual On Why Self-Quarantine Can Help

Keep informed daily on COVID-19 Cases & Wisconsin Outbreaks

Keeping the Home Safe Resource
Keeping the Workplace Safe Resource
Keeping the Commercial Establishments Safe Resource

CLOSURES: Wis. schedule changes for events, cities, schools and universities- NBC 15
Racine County Closures

BUSINESS RESOURCES & ASSISTANCE LOANS  

NEW: WEDC announces targeted grants to small businesses suffering losses due to COVID-19 emergency

The WEDC Board of Directors on Tuesday, March 17 approved $5 million in funding for the program, which will be known as Small Business 20/20 (SB20/20). SB20/20 will provide grants of up to $20,000 to targeted businesses with up to 20 workers to cover rent and to meet payroll expenses, including paid leave (including sick, family and other leave
related to COVID-19). More Info Here 

Need better tech to help your employees work from home? Here are some free and discounted software offers to make remote work easier and cheaper.

Wisconsin Main Street and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) Small businesses and Civic and Cultural Institutions Strategic Planning Guide Here

SBA Wisconsin is offering daily webinars to answer questions on the Economic Injury Disaster Loans that are available to Wisconsin small businesses and private, non-profits. Information included will be:

- Program eligibility
- Use of proceeds
- Terms & Filing requirements
- Additional small business resources

Register for the SBA daily webinars Here 
Frequently Asked Questions about the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Here

SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans - Q&A Here

MRA- Coronavirus Q&A for Employers Here
MRA- Temporary Layoff Sample Letter Here 
MRA Members - 24/7 HR Hotline (866-474-6854)

Workplace Confirmed Communications Guide and Templates Here

WI Veterans Chamber Gold Sponsors Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren- They have put together a cross-disciplinary group of experts that are issuing guidance on various topics including health care issues, labor and employment issues, and supply chain issues, among others, created by COVID-19. Get it Here

Need Help Transitioning to digital sales? Members and nonmembers can contact John Francis - Heartland - john.francis@e-hps.com for assistance

Wisconsin Emergency Response Program
gener8tor is hosting emergency one-week virtual programs for small businesses affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. Dates and Sign-up Here 

U.S. Bank Announces 20% Premium Pay Program for Employees and $30M Commitment to Support Individual and Small Business Recovery- Read about their commitment here

PAID SICK LEAVE FOR EMPLOYEES - FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE


Coronavirus Relief fund details – From Paycor HR Center of Excellence

  • - Cash payments of up to $1,200 for individuals, $2,400 for married couples and $500 per child, reduced if an individual makes more than $75,000 or a couple makes more than $150,000
  • - A $350 billion fund for small businesses to mitigate layoffs and support payroll
  • - $500 billion available to the Treasury Department to make loans, loan guarantees and investments to or in industries damaged by the pandemic
  • - Requires that recipients of loans do not buy back stock during the time the loan is outstanding, and that executives or employees who made more than $425,000 in 2019 do not get a raise for the next two years
  • - Requires group health plans and insurance providers to cover without cost-sharing any coronavirus preventive services
  • - An employee retention tax credit
  • - $240 billion in health-care relief
  • - $75 billion in aid for hospitals
  • - $20 billion for health care for veterans
  • - $20 billion for emergency public transportation relief
  • - $10 billion for airport relief
  • - $4.5 billion for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • - $50 billion in relief to airlines in the form of loans or grants, and another $8 billion for cargo carriers
  • - $17 billion in relief for unspecified “businesses critical to maintaining national security”
  • - Strengthened unemployment insurance, which could potentially add $600 per week for up to four months on top of what a state would give beneficiaries.

Families First Coronavirus Response Act
What is it?
The FFCRA was enacted to help individuals, families and businesses affected by COVID-19. The law provides paid leave for employees that need to take time off work as a result of the coronavirus                  

When does the law take effect? Immediately.

We are a small employer; will we be impacted by the change?
Required: The legislation requires employers with under 500 employees to give sick leave and paid family medical leave to eligible employees.  

Opt-Out: If you have less than 50 employees you are included but have the option to not participate if providing leave would impact the business.

Are part-time employees eligible?
Yes. Part-time workers are to be paid the amount they typically earn in a two-week period.

What is the required Emergency Sick Leave for the employee?
Qualifying employers are to provide employees two weeks of paid sick leave:

  1. 1) If they are ill with COVID-19
  2. 2) Seeking a diagnosis for COVID-19
  3. 3) If the employee is caring for sick family members due to COVID-19
 

What’s been changed regarding the Family Medical Leave Act?
Families can utilize FMLA to receive 12 weeks of job protected leave, with 10 weeks being paid leave, if caring for children whose schools are closed or whose childcare provider is unavailable because of coronavirus. Eligible employees are those who have worked 30 days before the effect of the coronavirus.

How much money is required to pay employees on leave?
Employers are required to pay two weeks of sick pay of the full amount they are usually paid, up to a maximum of $511 a day or $5,110 total. Employees caring for a sick family member or a child whose school or day care is closed, you earn two-thirds of your usual pay, up to a daily limit of $200 or a total of $2,000.

Am I permitted to give my employees more time off with pay?
Yes, but the credit only applies the quantified earnings amounts.

Is the paid leave permanent?
No. As of now it expires December 31, 2020.

If I am forced to lay my people off, how will this impact unemployment?
Paycor is building a state-by-state tracker to keep organizations informed on updates as they occur. We will notify you once this is available

What type of assistance is available to offset the emergency leave expense for employers?
To help employers pay for these requirements there is a refundable payroll tax credit for 100 percent of qualified paid sick leave wages, which is permitted against the employer portion of federal payroll taxes. Also, there is a refundable tax credit for 100 percent of qualified family leave wages paid by an employer, which is allowed against the employer portion of federal taxes.

Agency guidance regarding how and when the credit will be reported have not been released by the Internal Revenue Service.

U.S. Department of Labor/Wage & Hour Division Resources on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act

IMPACT ON MILITARY AND VETERAN FAMILIES  

Veterans Access will be hosting a Virtual Job Fair.

May 20, 2020 at 1000AM CST
No cost to candidates seeking gainful employment. The virtual job fairs present an opportunity for employers to meet, interview, and hire on the spot.

Links:
Veterans Access – www.vetsaccess.com
Virtual Job Fair – www.vetsaccess.vfairs.com

Veterans have multiple resources for COVID-19 information - Resources Here

COVID-19 Military Spouse Initiative Here - online resources and webinars.
 

- Looking to find a remote job? - Check out our Member Resources page here
- Follow the local VA guidelines on visitors to protect the older veterans who are at risk for COVID-19- CNN Article Here

Veterans Business Outreach Center/ WWBIC
- If you are a veteran business owner, contact VBOC and get on their email list so you can get updates on federal/national/regional opportunities and announcements.
- For any business that is currently a WWBIC loan client, WWBIC has relief measures in place for those existing clients.
- For any clients not a WWBIC loan client, WWBIC is working on putting together new funding programs; these are in the works.
-WWBIC continues to have online classes/webinars for education.

WI Department of Veteran Affairs Updates Here 

VA resources here

Department of Defense-related coronavirus updates and impacts Here

UPDATES OR CLOSURES - SENATOR BALDWIN, VA AND WDVA
- click on the images to read more