Accessibility Tools

Skip to main content
Webinar : Covid-19 What Employers Need to Know - April 1, 2020 2:00 pm

Webinar: Covid-19 What Employers Need to Know

Watch This Webinar

If you're having trouble, use the following button to watch the webinar on the Zoom cloud. Date?: 04-01-2021

Click here to watch this webinar.

Presentation File

Please call 404.365.0900 if you have any questions.

We are open and here to help.

Webinar Transcript

J. Larry Stine (00:00:00):
All right. I'm Larry Stein from Wemberly Lawson, Steckel, Schneider, and Stine. Try saying that three times quickly. I can't. Welcome to our webinar. So why are we here? Well, obviously Covid 19 and all the legislation has come, and the fatality rate may be higher than the common flu to date. It is. We don't know what it'll be after it's all over, but right now the rate is, appears to be higher. The transmission rate may be higher than the common flu, and it looks like as of right now, that's true, but we won't be for certain until we get to the end of this mess. Hospitals and areas with high numbers of covid 19 cases do not have the staff facilities, equipment, or other resources to treat the covid. 19 patients and other patients, as we can see on tv, seeing what's going on in New York right now, vaccines and other treatment are still in testing phase, and so we don't know what'll be happening.

J. Larry Stine (00:01:00):
We've gotta give 'em some time. They're moving remarkably fast. And the COVID 19 was found on the Diamond Princess 17 days after the passengers and crews had departed. So it does appear to have some persistence federal guidance. There are places that you can go on, on the to get the federal guidance. First thing is, just so you understand, there is no federal requirement to cease business operations. There are state and local requirements to cease business operations, but there are no federal requirements to cease business operations. C D C is a place, if you wanna know what's going on with Covid 19 and how to respond to it, that's the place to be. And I'm showing you two of the links to the C D C so that you can see what they're suggesting as methods to do to handle the COVID 19 in your particular situation.

J. Larry Stine (00:02:01):
Also, the department labor has issued guidance, and that's at w And you'll go up to the front page and I'll have a coronavirus button and you can click it. That will take you to another page with links for OSHA for wage and hour for eta, there are other agencies, for example, if you're H two A or H two B employer, there's actually a link to E T A where you can see what's going on with the temporary foreign workers. E E O C has issued a guidance also related to the ada, and you can find it at that particular link shown on the slide. In essence, basically they acknowledge there's a national emergency and have relaxed some of the Americans with disabilities medical testing provisions, and we'll get to that later in the presentation.

J. Larry Stine (00:02:55):
And just in from d o l, they were supposed to have a poster, by gosh, they got one. So here is the poster, and it is supposed to be up and posted today, and there is the link to it. And if you need, we'll be glad in an email to you to send you the link so you can download it and post it. One of the questions about the poster is, okay, I've got everybody laid off. How the heck do I get it to 'em? Well, you can send it to 'em, and d o l says, you can. One proper way of doing it is to send emails to everybody, and you can go from that point, state and local orders. The governors of each state have the authority to declare an emergency and, and may have the authority to order employees to take certain actions, including closing business operations.

J. Larry Stine (00:03:42):
And almost every governor has done something, not all of 'em, but almost all of 'em. And they clearly have done so in Georgia. In addition, certain city and county governments have also declared an emergency and ordered employers to take certain actions, including closing business operations. Now, one of the issues that we have is that these orders oftentimes define essential functions or essential businesses. And if we've reviewed them, they have different definitions for essential functions. For example, in the city of Atlanta's stay input order, one of the essential services is, is described as construction for public infrastructure. Whereas Gwinnett County is issued a similar order, and its essential services include private construction. So whether you're doing something in a county or not, you need to look to those orders. And we would recommend at this particular point to check with an attorney that for each county or city you're gonna be working in, so that we can look to see how they have defined essential services.

J. Larry Stine (00:04:52):
Why is that true? Well, in some states, the they have already threatened to impose criminal sanctions for violating the emergency orders. And in Gwinnett County, the solicitor has said he will prosecute those violating the Gwinnett County Order for a misdemeanor. And a misdemeanor is punishable by 12 months in jail and a thousand dollars fine. And he is indicated in press releases that he will seek to impose the thousand dollars fine on anybody violating the Gwinnett Stay in place order. Now we're gonna talk about the paid sick leave pay Act, and it is effective as of today, and it will remain effective through the end of this year to December 31st, 2020. It will covers all employers with less than 500 employees. Now, for those who are under 500 for the company, it's not a problem. There are few companies where they're affiliated subsidiaries or related companies, in which when you combine 'em all, they're more than 500, but one or two of the companies have less than 500.

J. Larry Stine (00:06:04):
That requires you reviewing the joint employment regulations under the Family Medical Leave Act and the Fair Labor Standards Act, and a pretty specific indi set of facts. And if you are in that situation, we recommend that you consult with your counsel to determine whether you're gonna be covered by the paid sick leave paid act. All employees of employers are covered regardless of the period of employment. In other words, today's April one, if you hire somebody today on April one and tomorrow they meet the qualifications, they're entitled to get their two weeks of the emergency sick pay.

J. Larry Stine (00:06:44):
D o l by regulation may exempt employers with less than 50 employees who meet certain criteria such as the leave requirements jeopardize in the viability of the businesses. A, a going concern and the healthcare providers and emergency responders can be excluded from the definition of the employee if they so choose. Just so you know, probably you're going to have some people that can't pay this because well, they have no money, and as long as they're less than 50 employees and they can show that, and we'll have to document it. When D O L comes around they will be exempted from the provisions of the two weeks of sick pay. Now, there's two weeks of paid sick leave at the regular rate, which is up to $511 per day and $5,110 in the aggregate for each employee's own covid. 19 related government ordered or healthcare provider recommended isolation or quarantine order.

J. Larry Stine (00:07:48):
For example, if you had the misfortune of being abroad when this thing hit as one of our attorneys did, when you came back to the United States, the government ordered you into quarantine for 14 days. That qualifies for two weeks of paid sick leave at the full regular rate. If the your healthcare provider says you're going into quarantine, the same thing is true. They would be entitled to two weeks of paid sick leave at the regular rate. Also, if you're absent for seeking medical diagnosis for Covid 19 symptoms, you qualify for the two weeks of full paid sick leave at your regular rate. Now, there's two weeks of paid sick leave at two-thirds of the regular rate up to $200 per day, and 2000 in the aggregate is available for employees who are, is caring for an individual who is subject to a government order or a healthcare provider recommended isolation or quarantine.

J. Larry Stine (00:08:45):
Now, if you notice, the word is individual, and that's exactly what it means. It means if your employee decides that they're your next door neighbor who's got a healthcare provider quarantine order, and he wants to care for that person, he becomes qualified for the two weeks of paid sick leave at two thirds of the regular rate. In addition, the employees who the son or the daughter, the employee, if the school or place of CLA care has been closed, or the childcare provider is unavailable due to covid 19 precautions, then they get two weeks of paid sick leave at two thirds their regular rate. Now, the full-time employees would be paid for 80 hours and the part-time employees would be paid based upon their typical hours in a two week period. Now, how do you determine what is their typical hours in a two week period?

J. Larry Stine (00:09:41):
Well, what the Department of Labor said was that you would look at the previous six months and average that so that you would know how many hours they worked in a typical two week period. So if you went back and took the number of hours in the six months period and divided by the number of weeks, and it comes out that they average 32 hours per week, you would pay them under this emergency sick pay 62 hours at their regular rate. Now, the regular rate is easy. If somebody is being paid on an hourly basis and that's all they get paid, you know, I'm paying them $12 an hour. Their regular rates $12 an hour. However, a lot of people are not paid on that basis. They're paid on peace rate, they're paid on commission. And so what the Department of Labor has said in order to determine what that regular rate is, is you will take the employee's compensation for the previous six months or their full period of employment if it's less than six months, and divide that by the hours worked for that period of time, and you'll come up with a regular rate.

J. Larry Stine (00:10:46):
So if you go through and it comes out it's $20 an hour, that would be their regular rate, and there's no carryover this paid sick time, it's either paid in this period from April one to December 31, or it's not paid. They don't get to carry it over until next year. And the employer may not require the employee to find a replacement for that person. In addition, this paid sick leave is made available in addition to your normal paid sick leave policy. So in other words, if you have two weeks of PTO and the employee hasn't used it, the employee who goes out on the provisions gets to take the two weeks of paid sick leave. And then if they're out for two more weeks of sick leave under your normal policy, then they would get that after that. But the employee gets the option of choosing which one they want.

J. Larry Stine (00:11:45):
And frankly, I can't imagine too many employees selecting anything other than take the two weeks of paid sick leave. I can't see the benefit for the employee to do so. And there is a model notice available now, and that should be posted, we've just mentioned and gave you the web site link to that. The Family Medical Leave Act or the F M L A also had an emergency amendment to it, but the F M L A remains the same with a few additions beginning April one and going through the end of this year, an employee can receive leave to care for a son or daughter of the employee who is under 18 years of age if the school or place of care has been closed or the childcare provider is unavailable because of the public health emergency with COVID 19. So it's a very narrow qualification. It is this one. None of the other reasons for the emergency sick pay qualify for F M L A, but this one where the schools are closed for children 18 or younger, or you can't get your childcare provider.

J. Larry Stine (00:12:59):
And this qualified family leave applies only to employees with less than 500 employees. And as I mentioned in the emergency sick pay, the the employers who have that kind of combination of 500 more employees in different configurations of companies, they'll need to contact an attorney to figure out how that's going to work. Because the, you have to look at the F L S A and the F M L A regulations. The Qualified Family Leave applies only to employees have employed for the last 30 days. As of the day, for example, they had to have been employed on March two, tomorrow, they had to be employed on March three. So they'd have to have a 30 days worth of employment before they seek the, the the two-thirds for the care of their child. D o l may exempt employees with employers with less than 50 employees who meet certain criteria. Basically the leave requirement jeopardize the viability of the business ongoing concern. As I said before, it's pretty easy to indicate, Hey, I don't have any money in my bank account. I don't have any money to pay anybody, would be a pretty good criteria. But do understand that still only applies to employees with less than 50 employees.

J. Larry Stine (00:14:17):
And the first 10 days of the qualified family leave can be unpaid, but the employee could substitute, elect a substitute vacation, leave PTO medical or sick leave for it. However, it appears that basically what they were trying to do was to dovetail the emergency sick pay and the F M L A because if you recall, on the emergency sick pay, the same reason the two, the, the care of the child who's got the closed school gets two-thirds for emergency pay. So what they've done is they've dovetailed F M L A, so there's not a double dipping for the employees that are gonna take it. And the real, the real benefit is after the first 10 days working days or two weeks, the employee must pay paid equal, equal to two thirds of the employee's regular rate. And that can go out for 10 weeks. At 10 weeks it would end, and once again, the paid leave shall not exceed $200 per day or $10,000 in the aggregate.

J. Larry Stine (00:15:22):
And paid leave is available for rehired employees who were laid off after March 1st, 2020, and worked at least 30 days of the last 60 calendar days. Now, one other thing we wanna make clear is that the F M L A and the emergency sick pay apply to the employees or active employees as of April one. So if you've had large layoffs because of the COVID 19 impact upon your business, and those people are, are no longer active employees, they do not qualify for either the emergency sick Pay leave or the Family and Medical Leave Act. And in addition, if you have another layoff and you lay them off and then they qualify under the F M L A of the emergency sick pay, they do not meet it because they have to be an employee.

J. Larry Stine (00:16:12):
Now, the employees do have an obligation to give you notice that such of the leave, as soon as it's practical, that appears to be that one, the schools are closed, which is gonna be a pretty easy thing to show, and that they have to take care of the child. No double dipping, you know, you can't have the wife and the husband staying at home both taking care of the child for the clothes, the school. So say if there's a couple, then one gets to do it and one doesn't. Also there's a job restoration requirement under the Family Medical Leave Act for you. People that don't have requirements for Family Medical Leave Act, either employees with less than 50 F M L A typically requires job restoration. And normally that is you gotta put 'em back in the same job that they had when they went out on F M L A, their their exceptions.

J. Larry Stine (00:17:05):
But that's the general rule. But if you have less than 25 employees and in certain conditions are satisfied, you will not have to put them back to work in the same position. And the job restoration requirements do not apply. The other thing is for the employers that were not normally covered under the F M L A, in other words, those with fewer than 50 you cannot be sued by a pri by an employee with a private attorney. If you're over 50 under the Family Medical Leave Act, you can be sued by an employee with private attorneys and that will remain true and includes these requirements under the emergency. But for those UNFI under 50, the government can still sue if you failed to comply. Also, an employer of the healthcare provider emergency responders may elect to exclude employees from this benefit, but that is an option for them. They can choose to do so or not to do. So at this point, we're at the payroll tax credits and Jim Hughes, who knows this far better than I is gonna take it over as soon as we get through Lysol. The the headphones, I'm going to momentarily put it on mutant, so I'm gonna mute you just for a moment while we change over. Jim will talk about payroll tax credit and a few other items, and then I'll come back to finish up.

Speaker 2 (00:18:27):
I have the responsibility for telling you how you can pay for some of the costs that you're incurring under the paid sick leave provisions and the paid family leave provisions. The federal government has chosen to give you a payroll tax credit on the employer share of the social security taxes. That is the 6.2%. And the credit will equal 100% of the qualified sick leave wages that the employer pays during the calendar quarter. And when we talk about qualified sick leave wages, it's the same wages that Larry described earlier in this webinar. The credit can be up to $511 per day for 10 days for an employee who has a governmental isolation or quarantine order related to Covid 19. It can also include the wages paid to an employee who has a healthcare provider recommendation of self quarantine related to Covid 19, and to an employee who has symptoms of Covid 19 and who is seeking a medical diagnosis. In addition you can claim a credit of up to $200 a day for 10 days for an employee who is caring for an individual who is subject to a governmental order or healthcare provider recommendation related to Covid 19.

Speaker 2 (00:20:04):
Or for an employee who is caring for a son or daughter of the employee because the school or place of care is closed, or the childcare provider is unavailable due to covid 19 precautions, there is also a payroll tax credit for family leave. The credit is again against the employer share of the Social security taxes, and the credit is equal to 100% of the qualified family leave wages paid to the employee by the employer during the calendar quarter because the employee is caring for a son or daughter of the employee because the school or place of care is closed, or the childcare provider is unavailable due to the COVID 19 public health emergency, this credit is up to $200 a day and $10,000 in the aggregate per employee for all calendar quarters.

Speaker 2 (00:21:12):
Now, there are some general rules that apply to both the paid sick leave credit and the family leave credit. The credit cannot exceed the taxes imposed for the calendar quarter on the wages paid with respect to the employment of all employees. If the amount of the credit exceeds the preceding limitation, the access is refundable and the IRS has posted on its website a form that you can use to request advanced refunding of the credit. The amount of the credit can be increased by the qualified health plan expenses eligible to the qualified sick leave or qualified family leave wages. And those qualified health plan expenses. I include basically the cost for the group health plan, including the insurance premiums.

Speaker 2 (00:22:15):
The employer does have the ability to elect to not apply the tax credits, and there are reasons you may choose not to do that. One of the reasons is you're not entitled to a double benefit and the amount of the credit is added to the employer's gross income for the year. Claiming these credits also may reduce other tax credits that you would otherwise claim. These credits are available only for wages paid from a date to be selected by the secretary, but it will be no earlier than March 18 and no later than April 1st, 2020. And the credit is only available for wages paid through December 31st, 2020. There is another credit available to employers who cannot claim the benefit of the payroll tax credit for paid sick leave or paid family leave. And I refer to this as the shutdown relief. This is also a credit against the employer's share of social security taxes for each calendar quarter equal to 50% of the qualified wages with respect to each employee of an eligible employer for the calendar quarter. It applies only to qualified wages paid after March 12th, 2020, and before January 1st, 2021. The amount of the qualified wages with respect to any employee, will not exceed $10,000 for all calendar quarters. The credit may not exceed the Social Security taxes paid on all employees for the quarter, and that is the employer's share of the Social security taxes. And if the amount of the credit exceeds the employer's share of taxes paid on all employees for the quarter, the excess is refundable.

Speaker 2 (00:24:25):
Who is an eligible employer? Well, it depends on how many employees you have and whether you were fully or partially shut down due to governmental orders approved full to Covid 19. And whether your gross receipts were less than 50% of gross receipts for the same calendar quarter in the prior year, and ending with the calendar quarter following the calendar quarter for which gross receipts are greater than 80% of gross receipts for the same calendar quarter in the prior year. If you have more than 100 employees, qualified wages means wages paid by the employer with respect to which an employee is not providing services due to a Covid 19 order or a decline in gross receipts. If the average number of employees during 2019 was not greater than 100, then you count the wages paid with respect to an employee during any period involving a Covid 19 order, and you also count the wages paid to an employee during such quarter of gross receipts decline. Qualified wages will include qualified health plan expenses, as we've discussed previously.

Speaker 2 (00:25:51):
Qualified wages does not include qualified sick pay wages or qualified family leave wages that Larry and I have discussed previously. And for an employer with more than 100 employees any amount in excess of the amount the employee would've been paid for working in equivalent during duration during the 30 days immediately preceding that period. Again, an employer may elect not to have the credit apply and the credit is not available if the employer claims a work opportunity credit. With respect to the employee claims, I paid family and medical leave credit with respect to the employee, and the credit is not available if the employer receives a business interruption loan.

Speaker 2 (00:26:46):
Another benefit that the government has given to employers is that the employer is not required to pay its share of the Social Security tax on wages accrued during 2020. It's a deferral of payment, and employers are required to make 50% of that payment by December 31st, 2021, and the remaining 50% by December 31st, 2012. This deferral of payment is not available if the employer benefits from a certain SBA a loan forgiveness. And that's a good segue into our discussion about some of the SBA loans. Historically, the Small Business administration or the SBA has several existing loan and grant programs that are available to an employer based on the employer's N A I C S classification and either the employer's revenue or the employer's number of employees. One program that has gotten a a lot of attention is the paycheck protection program.

Speaker 2 (00:28:07):
This program is available for employers with less than 500 employees, but it is also available to employers who according to the S B A size standards, have more than 500 employees, but who are otherwise eligible for the SBA loan program. For example, a poultry processing employer has an N NA I C S classification that under the SBA size standards allows a poultry processor to have fewer than 1,250 employees in order to qualify for an S B A loan. In addition, certain hotel and restaurant groups who have no more than 500 employees per physical location can participate in the paycheck protection program. The concept of the program is that it will provide payroll and insurance premiums some mortgage payments rent and utility payments for the employee ORs. The maximum loan will be no more than 10 million or or if lesser the two and a half times your average monthly payroll cost.

Speaker 2 (00:29:36):
There is a loan forgiveness provision in the paycheck protection program, and it is equal to the amount spent by the borrower during the eight week period beginning after the origination date of the loan. You can get loan forgiveness for payroll cost interest payments on mortgages incurred prior to February 15th, 2020, rent or any lease enforce prior to February 15th, 2020, and payment on any utility for which service began before February 15th, 2020. Now, the amount of loan forgiveness is reduced based on certain reductions in staffing or employee compensation, but the loan forgiveness reduction can be avoided if the reductions in staffing and compensation are reversed by June 30th, 2020. And these rules are somewhat complicated, but we're happy to discuss your individual situation and advise you accordingly. And other SBA loan programs may not be available if you receive a paycheck protection program loan. Now, these loans are guaranteed through December 31st, 2020 at 100%. There may be additional guarantees by the S B A after that date, but the 100% guarantee is only through December 31st, 2020.

Speaker 2 (00:31:13):
The government has also provided what is called an Economic Injury disaster Loan program. The maximum loan is the lesser of $2 million or 50% of gross profit shown on last year's tax return. Maximum interest rate is 3.75% and it's payable over a maximum of 30 years. These loans are for working capital payments can be deferred up to 12 months. The people who own 20% of or more of the business are required to make personal guarantees of repayment. And an employer who accepts one of these disaster loans may not be eligible for a pay check protection program. Although some employers who are in the process of applying for these disaster loans can change into a paycheck protection loan before they accept the disaster loan. And there are some other requirements and conditions. If you have outstanding SBA loans may be entitled to subsidies on principle and interest for a up to a six month period. And that may be a benefit that you would like to take advantage of

Speaker 2 (00:32:41):
If you are not a small employer or if you otherwise don't see any benefit in either the paycheck protection program or the disaster loan program or any of the other S B A programs. The government has made available through the Treasury Department the opportunity to receive loans or loan guarantees under what is called the Coronavirus Economic Stabilization Act Loan Program. It goes by some other names. It could be the Treasury Economic Stabilization Program or the Treasury Exchange Stabilization Program. But we're all talking about the same thing. Now, these programs may not be desirable to you because of their requirements and conditions, and they are many depending on the type of employer and some other requirements. For example, for some employers, the requirements may include remaining neutral during union organizing limiting staff reductions and not outsourcing or offshoring jobs.

Speaker 2 (00:33:53):
That ends our discussion of how you're gonna pay for some of these costs. But we want to remind you of some laws that have been in effect for a long time and that certainly have application in the COVID 19 environment. First, COBRA remains the same, but we wanna mention Cobra because most health plans provide coverage to an employee who is working 30 hours a week. A lot of employers have reduced their staffing time for employees or have laid people off. So COBRA applies when an employee loses coverage under the terms of the health plan due to a reduction in hours or termination of employment. And in those situations, the employer should provide the required COBRA notice. Now, the employer can choose to pay all or part of the cost of cobra, or certainly shift all of that cost to the employee.

Speaker 2 (00:35:03):
ERISA also remains the same with a few changes. The D O L has authority to postpone certain ERISA deadlines because of the public health emergency. They would do this by guidance or regulation at, at this point, they have not postponed any of the ERISA deadlines. If an employer still has a defined benefit plan, the minimum required contribution has been postponed to January 1st, 2021. But the employer still must pay interest on the payments that have been Deferred Warrant Act. The Warrant Act remains the same. The Warrant Act applies to employers with 100 or more employees when there's a plant closing or a mass layoff.

Speaker 2 (00:35:55):
If you lay off employees and expect to recall them within six months, no notice is required. But if you lay off employees and you do not expect to recall them within six months, you are required to give them 60 days prior written notice of the layoff or in an unforeseen business circumstance as much notice as possible. If you do not give the required notice, you can be liable for back pay benefits and a civil penalty of as much as $500 a day. I think it is imperative that if you have engaged in layoffs, and if you anticipate that you may have more layoffs, that you talk with counsel about the application of the warrant act to your situation. You also should remember that some states have plant closing and layoff laws, and those laws should be considered for your particular situation, the a d a. And we've gotten a lot of questions about the ada. Generally speaking, an employer can inquire about whether an an employee has covid 19 systems symptoms if it treats all employees in the same job classification the same. You can't pick and choose who you will ask about covid 19 symptoms. Some employers have adopted the practice of taking an employee each employee's temperature as they enter the facility. And that is permitted as long as you do it for each employee. In the same job classification.

Speaker 2 (00:37:45):
You have to remember that any information you collect, whether it's a temperature check or a questionnaire about an employee's Covid 19 systems, all of that is a confidential medical record and should be kept confidential. At this point, we're going to let Larry take us home, so we'll moot our discussion. So you don't hear the Lysol spray. And Larry will be on shortly.

J. Larry Stine (00:38:16):
All right, we're back. And it's showing me talking, so that's good. I as you saw, I Lysol sprayed this again and myself. By the way, it's a little unusual to put on a headphones that have Lysol spray on it. It's a little different. I I'm beginning to feel I'm being disinfectant a lot. A reminder, if you have any questions as we go through, we'd appreciate you going down to the bottom and typing them as as we go along so that we can answer 'em at the end. We'll, we'll stay as long as anybody needs to do that. I'm gonna be talking about OSHA and I have this guidance and somebody just in the other session said that they clicked on this and it didn't work. So let me give you an alternate. Go back to and you'll see the COVID 19 button.

J. Larry Stine (00:39:06):
Push it, it will take you to the OSHA site and it will bring this guidance up. This guidance is 35 pages long and covers a lot of different situations. Cause all of us of them have something different for osha. You know, the healthcare people are gonna have a completely different set of standards than somebody else. And social guidance works for some of us, but doesn't work for others. So, we'll need to go that I could do about an hour's worth of presentation just on the OSHA standards and the requirements under this COVID 19. But I don't have that time. So we're going to just click the highlights and recommend that you go look at this guidance for more detailed information or to give us a call. And we'll be ahead to spend a lot of time talking about osha. I like nothing better than spending an hour talking about OSHA's requirements.

J. Larry Stine (00:39:57):
That's a character flaw. But hey, what can we say? The OSHA guidance provide employers with some common sense steps, but they're not mandatory by that. They're, they're not enforceable, you know, implement the basic infection prevention measures, hand washing, and, you know, the alcohol, I'm, my hands are staying perpetually red from washing and sanitizing, so much respiratory protection, ie. Into your elbow. Joe Biden didn't seem to remember that, but hey tissues. And I've been doing a lot of this, of course, now they tell you, don't touch your eyes, your nose, your mouth, right with your hands. So what happens in Atlanta on Monday, 10,000 pollen count sets an all-time record and everybody in Atlanta's eyes are itching. The noses are itching. And so we're doing this so that we don't touch our hands to it. Tissues available and trash receptacles for the tissues, cleaning and disinfecting the surfaces and equipment.

J. Larry Stine (00:40:59):
That's one reason we made a point of the Lysol. But we, there's a lot of use in Lysol and disinfectants and bleach right now cuz it does kill the Covid 19 virus. Develop policies and procedures for prompt identification of sick people in isolation. Now, typically this would be problematic under the ada, but the E E O C has acknowledged with the National Declaration of an emergency by the president that this is an exception. And so that's the reason they're allowing us to do things like, as people walk in the door, to take their temperatures and to let us send people home who have, who are sick. Now, we know from some of the information we're hearing that a lot of people who are coming down with what sounds like the covid symptoms, which are also the same symptoms that times for the flu and for the cold.

J. Larry Stine (00:41:51):
Most people are not testing positive for covid 19. However, you send them all home if they have the fever or the cause, the shortness of breath and isolate them. Now, how do you do about the isolation? It depends. There seems to be different ways of handling it. One could be sending 'em home 14 days and quarantine them, which is one way of doing it. Another way is if you're we're able to get the testing and more and more testings available to test them. And if they don't test positive for covid on two separate tests, then let them come back. But one of the ways to handle this is, particularly in those situations where the administrative aspects of social distancing and are not available to you, that's a possibility. In a way, you're gonna have to handle it. Engineering controls, they suggest. What's an engineering control for covid 19?

J. Larry Stine (00:42:45):
Well, the, the most easily noted one is putting a plexiglass shield between somebody and their customers. For example, I was at the pharmacy this week and the pharmacist told me that they're planning to install a shield between him and the customers. And that is an engineering control of the types of engineering controls. Increase the ventilation greater disinfectant and watch that. The other one is administrative controls, social distancing, working from home, et cetera. And that's one a lot of us are using. If you can have people work from home, that's probably the best administrative control. The next one is the six feet distancing and make certain everything's disinfectant and P p E when required. Now the OSHA standards classify people in different ways. High hazard, moderately high, moderate, and low. OSHA says that the p p e is required when you're in a high hazard.

J. Larry Stine (00:43:52):
That's the healthcare situation and you can understand why. But in other operations where you're just working close and you don't have the social distancing, p p E is not yet required by osha. So we're having issues now where certain employees are refusing to come to work cuz they want to wear a mask and they're just, masks just aren't available. And so we're telling 'em they have to come to work and if they refuse to come to work, they can be let go due to your normal policies or three days, no show or refusal to come to work. Otherwise the PPE is required for healthcare situations. Unemployment compensation, let's move to that. Under the laws of most states, employees who suffer a significant reduction in hour of work or layoffs is eligible for unemployment. It's easy when you know, I'm gonna lay you off for two weeks, they're gonna go down and get unemployment. There's also one with a significant reduction in hours and then go down and get what's called partial unemployment for the reduction of the hours. So if I'm working 40 and I get reduced to 20 hours, I can go down and apply for partial unemployment.

J. Larry Stine (00:45:05):
And employees receive and pay the leave benefits generally not be eligible for unemployment benefits. In other words, if I've got an employee who's now getting two weeks of the paid sick leave benefits or PTO from you, he's not eligible for employment benefits until those bene leave benefits expire. And now here's the interesting thing. What the, the federal government has done is the recipient of unemployment benefits. We'll receive an additional $600 per week for up to four months, which in our opinion will encourage some potential workers to stay home. And you say, well, why are we saying that? Well, the Georgia unemployment benefits range from 65, which would be kinda like a partial unemployment up to about $335. So let's just kind of pick a medium point of $200. So your employee goes out, they're getting 200 from the normal unemployment benefits and an additional $600, that's $800.

J. Larry Stine (00:46:04):
You divide about 40, that comes up to $20 an hour. And I know a number of y'all don't pay $20 an hour to the employees. So all of a sudden we have a situation in which the employee is at home, you know, watching tv, binge watching Netflix, whatever, and they're making more money. So it's kind of interesting and it's gonna be a little difficult to get them back. Now when you send out a recall notice, they have to come back. What we're encouraging to do is when you do, if you got a layoff and you're doing the recall notice, the Department of Labor will allow you to send them the recall notice. And we would recommend you do that cuz the Department of Labor will take care of that and go from there. And the other thing that you might want to consider is in the layoffs, what we were doing and some of the employers as we were reducing the hours and trying to kind of spread the, they hurt among a whole group of people.

J. Larry Stine (00:47:02):
But at this point you might want to consider another strategy is to keep a group of people at full-time and then lay off the other ones. That way both groups would have compensation much closer to normal or in fact higher than normal. And additionally, if the person remains unemployment after the state, unemployment benefits are no longer available, they may receive an additional 13 weeks of unemployment benefits through December 31st, 2020. The last time that we had a federally extended unemployment benefits was the 2008 2009 recession. And eventually I got up to 52 weeks. And some employers experienced the same problems with getting people to work until they're unemployment benefits expired and they were only getting the normal unemployments at that time.

J. Larry Stine (00:47:56):
Worker's compensation as a general rule we don't think the employees will be able to prove that, that he or she contracted covid 19 at work. So the worker's compensation coverage may not be liable and employer can avoid liability. You know, you're in a healthcare pro setting that might be a little bit more difficult. But if an employee contracted Covid 19 at work, the exclusive remedy is will be the workers' comp laws, which will limit any potential liability. Now we're at the point of questions. We tried to get here for a little bit. I've got a few that we've got on here and we will answer them past three o'clock for as many people as wanna stay on. If you need to leave at three because you've got other commitments. We understand that. So we got a few questions that we put here and then we'll go to yours.

J. Larry Stine (00:48:46):
Do the new laws affect possible joint employment issues? The answer to that is yes, they do. That applies to companies who will get over 500 if you combine certain groups of their companies or facilities. We would need to look at the joint employment issues under the Fail Labor Standards Act and the Family Medical Leave Act provisions. Does the, how does the new law affect employees on leave on the effective date of the act? Whether an employee's on leave on the effective date of the ACT is not an active employee and does not qualify for either the emergency sick pay or the Family Medical Leave Act, they have to come back to work. And if they're come back to work under the emergency sick pay, as long as they're there for one day, they get qualified. And under F M L A, if they had been working for 60 days and had 30 days in, then they can also qualify for F M L A.

J. Larry Stine (00:49:42):
And how do the new laws affect employees on long-term or short-term layoff? The new laws don't affect employees or on long-term or short-term layoff, and that is whether they were on layoff before April one or they'll put on layoff after April one. Now I have Jim Hughes and Jim Wembley in here to help us with the questions. And I've got huh Oh yes. Oh, one more thing. I've got one more question. How do the new laws affect state of local paid leaves and the employees existing paid sick leave? The new laws come first basically, and then everything else comes second. Here we go. Yeah, I forgot to do the whole screen in the last three times. So I've been told repeatedly to do this. So now I have, right now I have 12 questions available. We'll answer them and I'll have Jim Hughes and, and Jim Wimbley do all the real answering because they know what what's going on.

J. Larry Stine (00:50:37):
So here we'll go with the first question. The employee was hired full-time for 45 hours. The employee's hours have been reduced to 36 hours and the employee is seeking the two-third paid leave under the, the new law employee receives 36 hours at two-thirds wage up to 80 hours. And do they file for unemployment for the remaining nine hours? No. That, so here's, here's the first thing is what you have to do is just because the hours have been reduced to 36, now it doesn't matter. What you have to do is you have to go back and look at the prior six months or his full period of employment if it's less than six months to see what his average number of hours, just because you reduced them recently to 36 may not have any impact at all. And then if they're over 40 under the emergency sick pay, the pay is limited to 80 hours.

J. Larry Stine (00:51:32):
If they get to the F M L A, the F M L A is related to the average number of hours worked by an employee. So if the employee had been working 50 hours, it would be the regular rate times the 50 hours times the two thirds. Since the f m FMLA is only two thirds. Now I I did state there's no double, double dipping for both parents to take off. How would you know other than asking if both parents took off? From both, if you don't, both don't work for your company. Well, that's how you would have to, you, you are gonna be, you're gonna have to ask them. Now mind you, if they lie to you then and you find out later on after you pay them, then you can take disciplinary action against them. But you are right. It's, if they're working for two different companies, it's gonna be very hard to coordinate it without just simply talking to them

Speaker 3 (00:52:22):
And you'll need documentation for the payroll

J. Larry Stine (00:52:24):
Tax process. Right? And the other thing that we wanna make certain is you understand you need to get documentation for all this type of leads because the IRS will be requesting that you have documentation and the Department of Labor will allow you to get the documentation that the IRS requires. They have the Department of Labor and IRS have dovetailed the two. And if you go on the D O L Q and, you will see that the Department of Labor says you can get the documentation required by the irs.

Speaker 3 (00:52:52):
You don't have to pay until they give you

J. Larry Stine (00:52:54):
The documentation. Yes. And as Jim Hughes points out, if you ask for the documentation, you can delay payment of the two weeks of sick pay and the F M L A until such time as you get documentation under the Family Medical Leave Act, there's a provision that you have to give 'em 15 days to get you the proper documentation. And while there's nothing that directly addresses that, we do believe in our opinion that the 15 days is gonna apply at least to the emergency F M L A and perhaps the other. Okay. here's a question. We have a commercial construction project in Gwinnett that started 2 24 20, permitted issued 2 18 20 completion schedule for the end of April. Is that considered an essential business? Well, that one I can actually answer because I just read the Gwinnett order. And in the essential services the one of the definitions is private construction.

J. Larry Stine (00:53:48):
So from what we can tell, but as I pointed out earlier, you have to look at it from a county to county and city to city issue because I think if that had been inside the city of Atlanta, unless that was a public infrastructure, you would not have been considered essential business. All right, I've got a very long one. So let me, let me read this for a second and then let me see if I can s contact something summarize. Well, this one is a paragraph long. So okay. If an employee is concerned for their health and they're a high risk person and the company's made reasonable accommodation to make their work environment as safe as possible, but the employee still wants to stay at home, can they receive unemployment benefits? Well, typically not, because what happens is they need to be terminated or the work conditions are such that they can't do it to get qualified for the unemployment.

J. Larry Stine (00:54:52):
So if basically they're just having a concern they probably will not qualify for unemployment benefits. Now that's the technical legal answer. The practical one is the Georgia Department of Labor is probably overwhelmed with claims and I think they're gonna be extremely liberal and granting benefits, but that's just a surmise and or speculation on my behalf. But I do think that it's, they're gonna grant a lot of claims that I think normally wouldn't be, be challenged and would be upheld. Now the next one is if they go out on unemployment, how's their healthcare insurance handled? Well it it, if they're termina, if they go out and they either are off and you're terminating them or they quit and you're not paying them anymore, it could become a COBRA event and then you would have to follow the normal COBRA provisions and then they would be able to opt into Cobra if they need so to do so under the normal scheduling of that.

J. Larry Stine (00:55:54):
So, and if the what if the company hires a new worker to fill the position for the employee that wants to stay at home? Well then Department of Labor may not wanna pay for the unemployment benefit cuz they laid it off. But like I said, we'll see, because I think challenges are gonna be very difficult with this huge flow. Right. The next question is, if a company has less than 50 employees and has not filed to be exempt from the new requirements going into affect the day regarding workers who wanna stay at home and can get to collect two-thirds of their pay to take care of them can they unilaterally choose to go on employment? All right, let me see if I can do this. First thing is, just so you understand, is if you're under 50 and you're not able to pay the two thirds or the emergency sick pay, you want to have documentation, but the Department of Labor has asked you not to file it with them and just to have it available if they come and do an investigation.

J. Larry Stine (00:56:55):
So when don't, don't file any of these documentations with the Department of Labor, they don't want to, to handle that. If if you can't do it and you lay the, the person off, then they would be able to go get unemployment. If they say, I can't do it and I can't pay 'em, I think the thing to do would be to say, okay, instead of doing that, I wanna lay you off and allow 'em to go get their unemployment and that would allow them to be protected with the additional $600. I'll agree. Eh, Jim, Jim Wembley gave me a shrug. We don't know <laugh>, but what he's telling me is he thinks I'm guessing, but hey, we'll, we'll, we'll, we'll try. All right. If a company is concerned about certain employees being at higher risk to develop covid 19, can the employee offer selected employees to stay at home at full of their pay?

J. Larry Stine (00:57:49):
The answer to that is certainly you've had that discretion if you want to, to do that. Would the company face discrimination by offering such an attractive option for some employees but not other highly unlikely. I would document that they're at a higher risk. Now. Now I do believe if you do that, you're gonna have to treat everybody the same. That has a higher risk to develop covid 19 whatever your policy. I would certainly try to put that in writing and I would have the standards set out so that if you can, if anybody does come back and say, well, I should have gotten the ability to stay at home in full pay of course the problem is for a lot of 'em, there's no damages because if you say come to work at full pay or, and somebody gets to stay at home at full pay, there's no real damages to them cuz they still get the same wages. Okay. the next question is, can a company use voluntary layoffs as a ways to reduce the workforce size to match sales order and selectively offer this option to some group of workers but not others? That answer is yes. For example, since the unemployment benefits are so rich now versus what they normally would be a number of worker may prefer to be unemployed. Yeah. I, you know, like I said, you know, I please lay me off so I can make more money. The

Speaker 3 (00:59:05):
Moneys have to be on a non-discriminatory

J. Larry Stine (00:59:08):
Basis. That's right. They have to be on a non-discriminatory basis. But if an employee says, I'm volunteering to be laid off, that's a non, and you lay off everybody that wants to be laid off as non-discriminatory. Now if you get, get more people to volunteer to be laid off <laugh>, they're gonna have to come up with some sort of criteria as to who to keep that's non-discriminatory and treats them all the same. Give some rule an easy one would be like seniority. And you could do that in reverse seniority or, you know, I wanna keep all the senior people because they're the better workers almost in the genuine one's home. Or you could do it the other way around. 

Speaker 3 (00:59:46):
I don't think you could do it the other way. Might be age discrimination.

J. Larry Stine (00:59:50):
No, I I think you could because to be perceived as a benefit, Jim, Jim disagrees with me and I think for a lot of people it's gonna be a benefit to be out on employment at Mor Bay. I don't think you'll get

Speaker 3 (01:00:03):

J. Larry Stine (01:00:03):
Yeah, yeah, yeah. It doesn't, I think you can use seniority either, either direction. We, we, as you can tell, we have a, a, a slight disagreement with that. But if you're getting ready to do it, give us a call and we'll talk you through that very specific situation. And you may prefer to give the option to some employees ahead of others, such as with childcare needs greater risk of covid 19 complications. Yes. As long as what you would do is I think set out your policy and say, Hey, we're going to lay off those people who have childcare needs and have greater risk of covid 19 and the following conditions we're going to use, or we're gonna follow the c d C guidelines for those who have greater risk at, at COVID 19 complications. All right. Next question is, what happens in a place of business that is open when their first worker test positive for covid 19?

J. Larry Stine (01:01:03):
Maybe they got this outside the workplace, or who knows, is the business forced to shut down or can it remain open? The answer to that question that, that's a very good question. The first one is no, the business is not forced to shut down. It can remain open. But you're going to want to do a a number of things. If somebody has tested positive for covid 19. First thing is you wanna make certain that you go back through the process of sterilizing and cleaning everything and the facility top to bottom. To avoid that if you want, depending on how many people they're in contact, and we've seen this happen, you can take the people that they were in contact if it's a small group and ask them to go into isolation or quarantine. Also, if it's a very large group, then you would be monitoring like you would with the temperatures and the symptoms to see what's going on. And those people

Speaker 3 (01:02:01):
May be entitled to unemployment benefits during

J. Larry Stine (01:02:04):
That time. Yes, if you take those people and tell 'em to go home because they've been tested positive for covid 19, and those people who are in contact, they'll be they'll be off, laid off basically for weeks and they'll be entitled to the unemployment benefits for that duration. The next question is, does that mean workers can receive partial benefits from the $600 federal assistance? It's a good question. We have some indication and we're still working on it. I, I talked to the attorney, Mr. Snyder, who does more of this than anybody else, and we are, we're working on that issue. Yeah. Jimmy, have we got the answer yet?

Speaker 3 (01:02:39):
It looks like that if they're receiving a partial unemployment benefit, that $600 is put on top of it without

J. Larry Stine (01:02:47):
Reduction ah, Jim has checked this out, which cuz we had his question, but apparently you go on partial benefits, which would be a small one and the federal $600 just goes on top for even partial unemployment. Which would be a real boon to somebody that's gone from 40 hours to 20 hours. In other words, yeah, you can reduce the hours as long as it is a sufficiently large to qualify for partial unemployment. And I don't not know what that's standard cuz I know 50% qualifies. Next question. And when looking at a full-time employee who's caring for a family member and the average pay of the last six months is to be paid at two-thirds pay. If that employee worked an average of nine hours per day, should their pay be based on nine hours or the standard eight hours? The question for that, because it's the Family Medical Leave Act, it would be based on nine hours and not a standard eight under the emergency pay leave for the first two weeks of pay, it would be based on 80 hours for two weeks. I know that's a little odd. So for the first two weeks it's based on 80 hours hours

Speaker 3 (01:03:58):
First week and

J. Larry Stine (01:03:58):
Then Yeah,

Speaker 3 (01:04:00):

J. Larry Stine (01:04:01):
And the other little quirk that Jim Hughes has pointed out, and it's in the, it's in the q and a, is if I have an employee who's working 45 hours and they go out for two weeks and you're paying them weekly, the first paycheck should be for 45 hours and the next week will be for 35 hours. It still comes up to 80 in a two week period. But you have that odd Now if obviously if you're paying on a biweekly then it's just 80 hours. But once you go to the F M L A the rules change and you look at the average week and if it's a 45 hour work week, now you're gonna pay two-thirds of the regular rate times 45 for each week. Next question, and this is a good one. We had been planning on letting an employee go with calls. Can we still carry this out? Yes you can. They will get a better benefit than what you were planning to do for their unemployment for the first without

Speaker 3 (01:04:53):

J. Larry Stine (01:04:53):
With calls, with calls with cause. Well it depends on whether they're gonna fight it or not. Here's the, here's the issue is typically if you have good calls under unemployment, you can go and challenge that if you so choose. We do have clients that fire people with cause and just don't bother to fight the unemployment. That's up to you as to whether you wanna file a, a contested claim. If, if they go out on calls and you prevail before the administrative hearing officer, they will not get their unemployment and I would assume not get their $600 cuz that's a supplement to the unemployment question from another one. To be clear, employees can receive more compensation, unemployment, both state and federal, then they would earn if they work full-time. You got it. The answer to that question is unequivocally yes. Can you repeat the employer liability for workers' comp as it relates to covid 19?

J. Larry Stine (01:05:48):
Yeah, basically what happens under workers' comp is it's difficult to show that an illness is obtained at work cuz there's so many sources. However, if the employee could establish cause and the burden of proof is on them to establish that it was that they guided at your workplace, then workers' comp can apply to that liability. All right, next question. If employees are on furlough prior to April one, how do these new laws apply? Well, the answer is they don't. As long as they're on furlough. Now, if you bring them back before December 31 of this year, then they'll become covered under the, under the laws and that they then have to go out for leave Under those provisions they would be covered. But for people that are on furlough, whether it's prior to April one or after April one these new laws don't apply to them.

J. Larry Stine (01:06:44):
Okay. If the employee began unemployment with our company on January 3rd, 2020, does this employee meet the criteria to receive unemployment from the state of Georgia? For that one, i I I know the answer to that one. That's the answer to that is yes, they are. There's a certain criteria for how much money you earn with it. And even if they didn't, what happens a lot of times is not that they don't qualify for unemployment, but the unemployment benefits go against the prior company's history and not yours. But they will look at the company's the only change that if they came right off of unemployment and been disqualified for a number of weeks, but from January three to now they would've satisfied that. Cause I believe it's 12 weeks. Is that right? Do you think that, is that your recollection? Okay. Yeah, I think it's four.

J. Larry Stine (01:07:32):
Okay. All right. We think it does, right? If an employee continues to receive pay via the PP P program we apply for, but the government requires us to close, do we just keep paying them via our I PPP fund or do we furlough them and they seek compensation via an unemployment program or regular employment plus the 600 bucks? It's a very good question. First thing is I wanna point out is the P P P program allows you to get that loan forgiveness as long as you're back in as of June 30. So what would probably be a smart thing for you is that if you're laying them off, cuz you got clothes, is to let them go out on unemployment and if it starts getting close to June 30, you can recall them and start paying them and they'll show up on your payroll.

Speaker 3 (01:08:23):
Well, the forgiveness measures the payroll and other costs during the eight week period after the loan starts.

J. Larry Stine (01:08:34):

Speaker 3 (01:08:36):
So if people are laid off during that eight week period cause of a covid order, they're not going to be able to qualify for as much loan forgiveness.

J. Larry Stine (01:08:47):
Okay. Jim Hughes added another wrinkle to that in that is that that eight weeks period that you're looking for your loan forgiveness starts from the loan origination date. So although you can bring them back on June 30 and still qualify, if your loan origination date is sooner than that, that would be the date that you would want to bring them back from unemployment. If you don't wanna lose any of the loan forgiveness, you got a baffled look on your face. Jim <laugh>,

Speaker 3 (01:09:16):
I get that a lot too.

J. Larry Stine (01:09:18):
<Laugh>, I only think that's the best answer. If you, if you get into that situation, give us a call. Particularly, we need to coordinate your loan origination date to the PPP P program. If the employer has more than 500 employees and chooses to pay for 14 days covid 19 leave, are they entitled to the tax credit? Jim? No. The answer is no. Well, it's simple. We may flunk the lawyer's test for giving us straight direct answer. Hey. Okay, <laugh>. Okay, next question. I have. Having any employee state that they received the additional 600 while on an unemployment? Well that's because it didn't start until today. So the, the employees that have been unemployed prior to this date didn't get the $600 supplement because it, and

Speaker 3 (01:10:11):
The $600 supplement won't be paid after July 31.

J. Larry Stine (01:10:14):
Oh, and the 600 supplement stops Yeah. At four months and July 31. And the most you've seen is $365. Yes, that's about what I have seen. But as of April one, if they're still out on unemployment, they will get a bump of $600 on top of that. And so they'll get up to $965 a week, which is substantially more than a lot of people will make. All right. Question if you had six employees to start, as of the time Cares Act was passed and you terminated one for lack of work, does your forgiveness amount through the P P P get reduced? Jim? Yes. The answer to that question is yes it does. It'll be reduced by ratio of the one to six. Yes. Yeah. Next question. I have a commercial construction company. I've laid off half my workers with most likely more coming. I have under 25 employees. I'd like to apply for the P P P S B A loan to help pay for health insurance benefit. We pay 90% so the employees won't be burned with a COBRA cost. We plan on hiring them all back by six 30. 2020. Would we qualify for loan forgiveness if everyone is hired back? Cash flow would be very difficult for us when the job starts back. So we think the loan is right fit for us. It it,

Speaker 3 (01:11:32):
The amount of the loan forgiveness though, would be affected by what your costs are during the eight week period after the

J. Larry Stine (01:11:39):
Loan originates. Right. So the, what Jim Hughes says is that the, the six 30 will make you qualifi, but the eight week period starts from the date of the loan qualification. So depending on whether you bring 'em back before in relation to the loan qualification date is the cri, the critical CRI loan origination date is the critical criteria. So you

Speaker 3 (01:12:03):
Look, you look at that eight week period after the origination date.

J. Larry Stine (01:12:07):
Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, you

Speaker 3 (01:12:08):
Calculate your payroll and other costs to determine what the amount of the forgiveness

J. Larry Stine (01:12:14):
Will be. Okay. The eight week forgiveness is calculated from the loan origination date through eight weeks. And then you'll be looking at your payroll costs, your mortgage interest, your lease, those sorts of things to get it. So take that into account when you think about bringing your employees back. If you're looking to maximize your loan forgiveness, understand that even though you qualify for p if you have 'em all back by 6 30, 20 20, if you don't bring 'em back during that eight weeks, you could majorly impact your loan forgiveness. You'll get the loan, you just won't get the loan forgiveness. If the company has more than 500 employees, how will some of these provisions apply? Well, other than the provisions related to the Emergency Sick Pay Leave Act and the F M L A, those don't apply but warn the ada, the unemployment benefits, they all apply.

J. Larry Stine (01:13:16):
Okay. I got a question about the Gwinnett, I think I've already answered is the essential services and that I read in the emergency order included the term private construction. I would, if I was you, I'd either get a lawyer, a li a letter from a lawyer saying, Hey, we've reviewed the order, your private construction, your essential services. So you give each of your employees a letter to carry around with them so that if they get stopped by the police officer or somebody else, they can show 'em that letter. For tipped employees, are tips included in the gross pay calculation for paycheck protection program? Yeah, typically what we're looking at is the regular rate and that would be declared tips. And that, so for once those tips they didn't declare are not gonna help them or you. All right, next question.

J. Larry Stine (01:14:12):
If you have one individual within the office where we're still working due to having construction crews still working, but this individual is coming to work and staying behind closed doors and complains constantly about how we are not thinking of her safety <laugh>, can we ask her to stay at home even though she couldn't do any work from home? Will we be better offering her unemployment? Well it depends on how much the complaints are bothering you or not. If you can handle the com constant complaints, you could leave her there working cuz she gets work done for you. But if they're bothering you and you could put her on unemployment unless she's making more than $40,000 a year, she'll probably happy about it. Any any comments on that one?

Speaker 3 (01:14:58):
Probably complaining. So she will

J. Larry Stine (01:14:59):
Be laid off. <Laugh> and Jim, Jim Remley says she's probably complaining so she can get laid off <laugh>. All right. Back to that other question about terminating one employee. Is it the timeframe when you terminated this one employee one out of six matter or effect affect your reduction in the forgiveness of the P P P loan? If you terminate before or after the origination of the loan or after

Speaker 3 (01:15:25):
The, the reduction in force rules are pretty complicated, so we should talk to them

J. Larry Stine (01:15:30):
Directly. Okay. you'll need to call us because those rules get pretty complicated and just beyond our ability to answer them here. And by the way, if, if, you know, you wanna hang up, we, we we're okay with it, but we're we're, I've still got a bunch of questions and we're gonna stay here until you're, we're done. 

J. Larry Stine (01:15:50):
Yeah, I have we have 46 still there. Yeah. We'll, we'll, we'll, we'll, somebody was just, we'll give us a call and we'll talk about that question. What we just talked about. Are most state unemployment insurance practices related to covid 19 likely to be similar to what you do in Georgia? The answer that is yes. The benefits may be higher. They, you know, a lot of states have higher unemployment, a few have lower unemployment, but the $600 will still stay the same. And basically the rules tend to be the same because the US department, the labor funds, the unemployment benefits to some degree and they set the rules and the states enforce them. If we get PP p loans, which include payroll, rent, utility, and health is that all forgiven if we comply or only the payroll part of the loan?

J. Larry Stine (01:16:42):
Forgiveness, it's only, the only part that gets forgiven is that eight weeks period between loan origination date and eight weeks out. And that will be forgive. It's, it gets a little complicated, but it's your payroll, your mortgage, your lease, your utilities less, any reductions of your payroll could impact it. But if you have a complete, if you haven't reduced your payroll, it's that eight weeks of payroll. The payroll by the way if you have anybody over a hundred thousand, that would impact it too because the payroll limit per person is a hundred thousand per annum. Under the P P P program, does the employee have to be at work in order for the company to get the full loan forgiveness or can they be assigned to stay at home whether they do work or not at home?

J. Larry Stine (01:17:31):
As long as they're on the payroll, the government's not. Yeah, the government's not, the government doesn't really care as long as they're on the payroll. They're not going to be doing any searches to determine whether you're just, they're goofing off or you're working as long as they're on your payroll exception, something. I don't think so because they're trying to pay, protect the payroll. Yeah. That's all they're looking for. Yeah. We don't, we, we don't think one note they'll be checking into that too heavily. As long as you show up on your payroll, they're gonna be happy with that and being paid. Yeah. If they show up on your payroll and you don't pay them, you might have some problems. All right. We still have 38 participants and I have reached, Nope, I got one more. You think I skipped your question.

J. Larry Stine (01:18:16):
I'm sorry. If a person was hired and started on 1 3 20 20, how long do they have to be employed to be eligible for Georgia Unemployment? They're already past the period of being qualified for being eligible for Georgia Unemployment. Typically what happens is the question tends to be for the eligibility for the employers, if they've not been with you long enough, the, they still get unemployment, but it's charged against the prior employer unless they have just come off of unemployment. And typically there's a 12 weeks period to reset their unemployment benefits. So since the one three date 12 weeks has expired on that, as of well now, I think we, you know, they, they would still be eligible for unemployment. I wanna thank y'all for hanging in there and putting up with our multiple errors and hopefully that all the way those errors are only for presentation, not content. <Laugh> <laugh>. Thank you very much and we'll we'll stop the webinar now. Thank you very much. Bye.

Webinar : Covid-19 What Employers Need to Know - April 1, 2020 2:00 pm
Webinar Date: Thursday, April 01, 2021
Start Time: 2:00PM
End Time: 3:30PM
Presenter(s): J. Larry Stine
Status: Available On-Demand
Venue: Zoom

Listen To This Webinar

Receive Webinar Email Updates