Resources for Employers
Resources for employers
- Paycheck Protection Program: The recently passed CARES Act stimulus bill included nearly $350 billion in funding for zero-fee loans of up to $10 million. If you are a small business, you can use this funding to provide for up to 8 weeks of average payroll and other costs. Importantly, these loans will be forgiven if your business retains its employees and their salary levels. These resources can be used in coordination with other COVID-financing assistance or any other existing Small Business Administration (SBA) loan program. The Small Business Administration has published information on their website for borrowers and the Treasury Department has collected relevant overviews, guidance, interim final rules, and more on their website.
- For a list of lenders participating in the Paycheck Protection Program, the Small Business Administration has released a guide, organized by state.
- Low-interest loans for Small Businesses: On March 12, SBA announced it will work directly with states to provide targeted, low-interest disaster recovery loans to small businesses that have been severely impacted by COVID-19. Small businesses can receive up to $2 million in assistance.
- Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program: The EIDL provides up to $2 million to help small businesses and most private nonprofits meet their financial obligations and operating expenses. The loan rate for an EIDL is 3.75% for businesses and 2.75% for non-profits with up to a 30-year term. The CARES Act provides an advance of up to $10,000 to small businesses and nonprofits that apply for an SBA economic injury disaster loan. The Small Business Administration is providing up to $1,000 per employee. Payments on Coronavirus EIDL loans are deferred for one year. This funding will be dispersed prior to the loan application’s approval and does not need to be repaid. Your business can use this grant to provide paid sick leave to employees, maintain payroll, meet increased production costs due to supply chain disruptions, or pay business obligations, including debts, rent and mortgage payments.
- Debt Relief to new SBA Borrowers: The stimulus includes $17 billion in funding to provide immediate relief to small businesses with standard SBA 7(a), 504, or microloans. Under this provision, SBA will cover all loan payments for existing SBA borrowers, including principal, interest, and fees, for six months. This relief will also be available to new borrowers who take out an SBA loan before September 2020.
- Assistance to Mid-sized Businesses: The CARES Act also creates a direct loan program for businesses and eligible nonprofit outfits with 500 to 10,000 employees. These loans have interest rates up to 2% and no interest or principal due for the first six months. Companies seeking aid must agree to a few requirements, including using the loan “to retain at least 90 percent of the recipient's workforce, at full compensation and benefits, until September 30, 2020." The recipient must also agree to not outsource jobs, to get rid of collective bargaining agreements, and to pay dividends or stock buybacks.
- Business Counseling Services for Small Businesses: Oregon’s Small Business Development Centers and Women’s Business Center provide mentorship, guidance and expertise to small businesses. The stimulus provided these centers with increased resources and training to address COVID-19 related questions. Portland’s Small Business Development Center is operated by Portland Community College and Mercy Corps operates Oregon’s only Women’s Business Center.
- Work Share program: The Oregon Employment Department’s Work Share program may be able to help you prevent layoffs by providing partial Unemployment Insurance benefits to supplement workers’ reduced wages as their hours are reduced.
- Rapid Response Services: Oregon’s Higher Education Coordinating Commission provides rapid response services for employers to assist with the development and implementation of a strategy to help affected workers to return to work as quickly as possible.
- Federal Emergency Paid Sick Leave Requirements: The federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act requires employers to provide up to two weeks of fully-paid emergency sick leave to employees to self-quarantine, seek a diagnosis, or receive treatment for COVID-19. In order to offset the impact to small- and medium-sized businesses, employers are provided a refundable payroll tax credit to cover 100 percent of the cost of emergency paid sick leave wages. There is also a refundable income tax credit for self-employed individuals. These requirements apply to employers with fewer than 500 employees, state and local governments, and employers with employees who work under a multiemployer collective agreement. The Department of Labor has provided guidance for employers and a comprehensive list of questions and answers.
- Federal Paid Family Leave Requirements: The federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act also requires employers to offer 12 weeks of paid family leave for an employee with a minor child in the event of the closure of the child’s school or place of childcare. The first two weeks are unpaid, but the employee can overlap this with the two weeks of emergency paid sick leave. This benefit must replace at least two-thirds of the employee’s wages up to a maximum of $200 per day. In order to offset the impact to small- and medium-sized businesses, employers are provided a refundable paid family leave payroll tax credit that offsets 100 percent of employer costs for providing mandated paid family leave. The credit also offsets the employer contribution for health insurance premiums for the employee for the period of leave. These requirements apply to employers with fewer than 500 employees, state and local governments, and employers with employees who work under a multiemployer collective agreement. The Department of Labor has provided guidance for employers and a comprehensive list of questions and answers.
- Deferral in payroll taxes: The CARES Act allows businesses to delay the payroll taxes typically paid by employers on wages. The 6.2 percent tax on wages businesses normally pay would instead have to be paid over the following two years, with the first half due Dec. 31, 2021, and the second half due at the end of 2022. Deferral of payroll taxes is not provided to employers receiving assistance through the Small Business Administration Paycheck Protection Program.
· Employee Retention Tax Credit: The federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act created a new Employee Retention Tax Credit through December 31, 2020. The Employee Retention Credit is a refundable payroll tax credit for 50 percent of wages paid by employers to employees during the COVID-19 pandemic, up to $10,000 in wages and compensation per employee. The credit is available to employers, including non-profits, whose operations have been fully or partially suspended as a result of a government order limiting commerce, travel or group meetings. The credit is also provided to employers who have experienced a greater than 50 percent reduction in quarterly receipts, measured on a year-over-year basis. The Employee Retention Credit is not available to employers receiving assistance through the Paycheck Protection Program. The IRS has provided initial information on this tax credit as well as FAQs on their website.
- Retail tax fix: The CARES Act will allow retailers, restaurateurs and hotels to either immediately deduct from their taxes the full cost of improvements to restaurant, retail, and most other property (classified as 15-year property), or allow these costs to be depreciated over 20 years in the case of a real property trade or business.
- Federal tax deadline extension: The U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service has extended the filing deadline to July 15, 2020.
- The State of Oregon has also extended its state income tax filing deadline to July 15, 2020.
- Hand sanitizer manufacturing: If you are a distillery or other business interested in manufacturing hand sanitizer, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) is providing certain exemptions and authorizations to permittees who wish to produce ethanol-based hand sanitizers to address the demand for such products during this emergency. TTB is exempting alcohol fuel plants and distilled spirits producers from the requirement to obtain additional permits or bonds to manufacture hand sanitizer. These measures are generally approved through June 30, 2020.
- Additionally, the CARES Act waived the alcohol excise tax for alcohol produced by distillers that is used for the production of hand sanitizer.