Top 5 HR Resources for Small Employers (under 500) during the COVID-19 Pandemic

We’re all feeling a bit overwhelmed with the amount of information coming in about the COVID-19 pandemic, not to mention the social and economic impact of the virus itself. 

To help consolidate the information overload, we’ve compiled our go-to resources for the new Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), Paycheck Protection Program, and California state resources such as disability and unemployment. Since this is a fluid situation, we anticipate changes to some of the suggestions below, but at least this is what we can communicate to you as of today. If you need support administering or navigating these waters, please contact your HR Consultant. We are here to help. 

1. FFCRA Poster

Employers with between 1-499 employees must post this poster in their workplace and distribute to remote workers via email or posting on the employer’s internal site or shared drive.  It spells out employee rights for employees who have work available but cannot work due to qualifying reasons. Provisions of the FFCRA include Emergency Paid Sick Leave (two weeks) and paid Expanded Family Medical Leave (which is only to care for a minor child if school or daycare are closed/unavailable). Both leaves qualify for immediate employer tax credits.

2. DOL FFCRA Information Pages

The Department of Labor (DOL) has created pages that provide information and guidance on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The FAQ page continues to be updated as more guidelines and clarification come in.

Note: Employers with fewer than 50 employees that feel they are unable to financially support employees on extended leave related to childcare-related paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave, may seek an exemption to the FFCRA (see #58 & #59).

3. California’s (EDD)

The Employment Development Department (EDD) offers partial paid benefits in many COVID-19 related cases. These benefits will integrate with the FFCRA required benefits. Information may be found on the EDD COVID-19 page and EDD press release 03/20/20

  • Unemployment: If you have to layoff or have to temporarily reduce hours and leave employees on your payroll, a special COVID19 unemployment program has been established and the one-week (7 day) waiting period is currently waived. See the EDD site and EDD UI FAQ’s for more information. 
  • Disability Insurance: If you are open for business and have COVID19 related illnesses or quarantined employees due to exposure, SDI benefits are generally available. See the EDD site and EDD SDI FAQ’s for more information.
  • Paid Family Leave: If employees are off work to care for a sick person, related to COVID19, or because childcare is unavailable, Paid Family Leave benefits may apply.

4. CA Labor & Workforce Development Agency

The CA LWDA’s COVID-19 Employer Resources page is extremely comprehensive and includes a chart that lays out benefits for workers impacted by COVID-19.

5. CARES Act

The federal stimulus Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”) is a financial assistance bill that provides a host of options and benefits to ease the burden of COVID-19 on individuals and employers. Employer-related options include tax breaks, employee retention tax credits, and payroll tax deferrals among others. 

One employer-related option may be especially helpful to small employers who have experienced dramatic revenue reductions. Known as the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), it provides low interest (and easily qualified) SBA loans to employers who keep employees on payroll and use the money to pay payroll, rent and insurance premiums. These loans may be partially forgiven under certain circumstances. See the SBA website for more information and consult with your CPA. Applications are made via your local bank.

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We are wishing health and well-being to all of our clients, your families, and your employees.