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Coronavirus (COVID-19) — Key Resources for Small Business Owners

By: Wagepoint

 

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US Small Business Resources

COVID-19 information

The main US COVID-19 website outlines the American Government’s response to the coronavirus.

Currently, the primary source of business information is US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which has a guide to the outbreak. Key sections include:

Other pages with specific information for business owners include:

  • $2.2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
    The parts of this economic stimulus package that apply to small businesses and their employees include:​​​

    • Unemployment benefits that boost the maximum benefit by $600 per week and provides laid-off workers their full pay for four months. The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program expands unemployment insurance to cover individuals who are not currently covered by traditional unemployment assistance, including:
      • Individuals who are unable to work because of coronavirus, whether due to illness, quarantine or child care needs
      • Individuals who are self-employed, including gig workers and freelancers
      • Part-time workers.
    • Direct payments of $1,200 to most individuals making up to $75,000, or $2,400 for couples making up to $150,000.  The amount decreases for individuals with incomes above $75,000, and payments are cut off for those earning above $99,000.
    • $377 billion in loans for small businesses including:
      • $350 billion in loan forgiveness grants to small businesses and non-profits.
      • $10 billion for Small Business Administration (SBA) emergency grants of up to $10,000.
      • $17 billion for the SBA to cover six months of payments for small businesses with existing SBA loans.
    • Coronavirus-related paid leave for workers and tax credits — Small and midsize employers can take advantage of two new refundable payroll tax credits for the cost of providing Coronavirus-related leave to their employees. This relief falls under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA or “Act”).
      • Paid sick leave for workers — ​For COVID-19 related reasons, employees can receive up to 80 hours of paid sick leave and expanded paid child care leave when employees’ children’s schools are closed or child care providers are unavailable.
      • Complete coverage — Employers will receive 100% reimbursement for paid leave pursuant to the Act.
        • Health insurance costs are also included in the credit.
        • Employers face no payroll tax liability.
        • Self-employed individuals receive an equivalent credit.
      • Fast funds — Reimbursement will be quick and easy to obtain.
        • An immediate dollar-for-dollar tax offset against payroll taxes will be provided
        • Where a refund is owed, the IRS will send the refund as quickly as possible.
      • Small business protection — Employers with fewer than 50 employees are eligible for an exemption from the requirements to provide leave to care for a child whose school is closed, or child care is unavailable in cases where the viability of the business is threatened.
      • Easing compliance — Requirements subject to a 30-day non-enforcement period for good faith compliance efforts.
      • To take immediate advantage of the paid leave credits, businesses 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 Form 7200, Advance of Employer Credits Due To COVID-19.

Other government business/commerce organizations

Other government health organizations

Independent small business organizations

Additional Resources

Responding to COVID-19 as an Employer

Below are some tips and resources you can leverage to support your workers in response to COVID-19. 

  • Send out a company-wide memo. During times like these, it’s understandable that your employees may be worried or concerned and may look to you for direction. As a leader, consider getting ahead of the curve by sending a company-wide memo that clearly outlines the company’s next steps and some health tips. Here’s an email template provided by Workest — feel free to make any changes to cater to your own business.
  • Transition your workforce to working remotely. One of the most effective ways to mitigate the spread of the disease is by encouraging your workforce to work remotely. Understandably, not everyone or business has had the experience of doing so. Luckily, there are many tools that can make the transition easier — such as Zoom, a video communication software for meetings and Slack, an instant messaging platform that allows teams to communicate and collaborate with each other. Something else to consider is Loom — in response to COVID-19, Loom has cut their prices and removed limits to their screen and video recording software.
  • Provide an updated policy guide. If working remotely is not possible for your business, consider updating your workplace health and safety policies. If you need, Klick has developed and shared its policy guide to the public — employers are encouraged to leverage this and adapt it to their own needs.

Soften the impact of the Coronavirus on your small business

There’s no doubt that pandemics are scary — but as a leader and fellow human, you must stay objective by collecting information from a primary source. Times are unsettling, but remain calm and provide clear direction and guidance to your employees to maintain your small business’ success.

Mel LyAuthor: Mel is a Content Specialist at Wagepoint with a keen interest in Wellness, People & Culture and the Employee Experience. When she isn’t writing, she spends her time sipping on lattes, playing volleyball, studying into different personality frameworks (her MBTI: ESFP), and bugging her partner.

Published: April 6, 2020
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