The US senate passed legislation yesterday dealing with the government and then ultimately your response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The legislation is expected to be followed by another Act which will hopefully provide some additional clarity, since this Act leaves many questions unanswered.
Our recommendation – As this situation is changing continuously and developing as I type, PFM recommends that all employers who are closing or reducing hours due to COVID-19 instruct all employees to file for unemployment due to a reduction of hours for the time being. (This recommendation may change.) This would mean not formally terminating all employees and would allow you to continue operations on a reduced schedule basis to see emergency patients.
Here is what we know now:
- This act provides for an exemption to the 2/3 pay requirement for employers with under 50 employees if the payment of these amounts will “jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern.” This is incredibly ill defined.
- For our dental clients – The ADA is in the process of filing a motion with the Department of Labor requesting that all dental practices be listed under the exemption above. https://www.ada.org/en/publications/ada-news/2020-archive/march/ada-alerts-dentists-as-coronavirus-legislation-reaches-senate
- This act also provides up to 14 days paid leave for any employees that fit the following requirements:
- Have COVID-19
- Are caring for someone who has COVID-19
- Are being quarantined for COVID-19
- Is caring for a child whose school or daycare is closed due to COVID-19 precautions
- Small businesses (under 50 employees) are said to be reimbursed for the above paid leave given to employees but that is also incredibly ill-defined on how
- It is unclear if employers with under 50 employees can be exempt from the above 14 days paid leave for the same reasons as the 2/3 requirement or not
We will continue to do our best to keep you informed as quickly as possible and hope to have more clarity soon. Please contact your advisor with questions as it relates to your personal situation.