The COVID-19 pandemic isn’t over yet. Although many states have reopened, and much of the news has shifted focus to the ongoing protests, the coronavirus is still a serious threat. As such, there is still legislation and guidance being released for employers and employees. Business owners and HR professional should stay informed of these recent developments.
The Paycheck Protection Program Gets More Flexibility
Legislation meant to provide relief for businesses struggling during the pandemic has included the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). However, the PPP loans have not gone completely smoothly. First, funds ran out before many small businesses got a chance to participate, prompting a second round of funding. Then, business had trouble meeting the requirements for loan forgiveness. According to CNBC, President Trump has signed a bill that will ease the conditions for forgiveness.
Tax Credits Provide an Alternative to PPP
FOX Business says that two tax credit options may provide an alternative relief option for businesses that have not been able to take advantage of the PPP loans. One is the Employee Retention tax credit, which is part of the CARES Act and cannot be combined with PPP loans. The other is the Sick and Family Leave credit, which can help when employees cannot work because they have COVID-19 or are caring for someone.
Businesses Turn to Liability Waivers
As businesses reopen, there is a significant risk of infection. Many business owners worry that this will lead to a surge in lawsuits. According to Insurance Journal, some businesses have started using waivers or disclaimers to warn customers about the risk. In some cases, customers at salons, gyms and other businesses may not be admitted until the sign a waiver absolving the company of liability.
Remote Work Is Here to Stay
Many companies switched to remote work to comply with stay-at-home orders and keep workers safe. Now, whether it’s because working from home is convenient or because people are still worried about the virus, workers may be reluctant to return to the office. According to the Business Journals, a survey found that more than three in four HR professionals think telework will continue a year after the pandemic.
Employers Adjust to COBRA Extensions
In early May, the IRS announced that COBRA deadlines for elections and premium payments would be extended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, employers and third-party administrators have had to adjust to the new timelines. The National Law Review has information on planning for longer COBRA election periods.
As the situation and guidance is ever-changing, it’s important to continue to stay up to date on current developments and work closely with your legal guidance on how your organization chooses to reopen and comply with legislation.