|Additionally, we are working with our partners to match job opportunities and HR professionals at companies experiencing lay-offs with leaders at companies who are hiring. This will allow us to proactively move displaced workers to new opportunities. If you would like to speak to someone on our team directly about matching your workforce needs, click here.
In other news, the United States Senate unveiled a $1 trillion stimulus package in response to COVID-19. Here’s what you need to know:
- Cash relief payments for individuals and families.
- Loans for small businesses and distressed industries.
- Pro-business changes to the tax code to support employers.
- This morning, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced Tax Day will be moved to July 15 from April 15.
- Contact Charles Aull if you have any additional questions on how this bill could affect your business.
- Locate resources around COVID-19 and see the answers to the community’s most pressing questions on GLI’s COVID-19 Resource Page.
- Kentucky’s General Assembly considers legislation to support businesses and workers amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The Family First Coronavirus Relief Act has been signed into law and will be effective April 2, 2020.
- Indiana announced that Indiana small businesses are eligible for financial assistance under the disaster designation by the U. S. Small Business Administration (SBA) in response to COVID-19. Governor Eric Holcomb also announced the state’s Strategic Workforce Plan, A Better Future for Every Hoosier, ensuring that all Hoosiers have equitable opportunities for lifelong learning, increasing personal economic mobility and providing employers the talent they need to grow and diversify their workforce.
- Louisville Business First has compiled a resource to educate businesses about the COVID-19, and provide a list of resources to help businesses deal with the pandemic.
- There is critical work being done to ensure that immigrants, refugees and other vulnerable populations have access to the information and resources that they need during the pandemic. To see what regional partners are helping in Kentucky and Indiana, click here.
- Louisville Gas & Electric Company (LG&E), Kentucky Utilities Company (KU) and Old Dominion Power have announced they will suspend disconnections and waive all late fees for residents unable to pay their bills through May 1, 2020. The agencies will work with residential customers having payment issues to assist them during this critical time.
- Understanding the importance of access to clean water during this pandemic, Louisville Water Company has decided to suspend turn offs for nonpayment, and will continue to work with residents who are struggling to make their payments.
- America’s Small Business Development Center has created a number of resources to help businesses address the business challenges of COVID-19.
- Louisville Independent Business Alliance (LIBA) has compiled an extensive resource page that provides links to local resources available to local independent businesses.
- The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is offering Virtual Connection Support Groups for individuals with mental health conditions. Contact Jennifer Jarrett or call 502-648-1564 for more information.
If you’re a GLI Investor and would like to submit helpful content to be considered for dissemination, please click here.
Questions keep rolling in, so we’re going to answer a few of them today:
Investor Question #1: Will state and city tax relief be pushed back like federal? What are the implications for sales tax?
At this time, Metro’s tax filing and payment deadline remains the same as previous years. We are aware of the nationwide effects of Covid-19 and will take those into consideration if entities are delayed in their payment. Daniel Frockt, Chief Financial Officer, Louisville Metro
Investor Question #2: What benefits do employers have to cover if they furlough employees versus lay them off?
This is a complicated question. Traditional employee furlough is a mandatory suspension from work without pay. However, while some employees may not maintain benefit eligibility during a furlough, some do, depending on how eligibility is addressed in their underlying plan documents. The Fair Labor Standard Act (FLSA) also requires employers to pay employees for any work done during a furlough period (payment requirements vary based on exempt/non-exempt status.) On March 18, 2020, President Trump signed the Federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which expanded family and medical leave and guaranteed paid sick leave for certain U.S. workers. This act applies to employers that employ fewer than 500 workers and has two requirements: first, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) was amended to allow employees to take up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave, where the first 10 days may consist of unpaid leave, but on day 11 employees must be paid for each day of leave during the 12-week period, up to a maximum of $200 per day and $10,000 total; and, second, covered employers must provide sick time to their employees. Layoffs are more straightforward because they can be treated like most other employment terminations from a benefits perspective. There is a COBRA triggering event for health benefits (medical, dental, vision, health FSA, etc.) upon termination for those covered under the employer’s benefit plans. Employers can choose but are not required to subsidize COBRA for terminated employees. Additionally, laid off employees may be entitled to unemployment benefits, potentially increasing the employer’s unemployment tax rate. Shannon Antle Hamilton & Rebecca A. Weis, Stites & Harbison, PLLC
Investor Question #3: Are you aware of any sample policies around managing the crisis internally, like establishing protocol, reporting confirmed cases, how to deal with exposed employees, when they should isolate, and notifying employees and customers possibly infected/exposed, etc.?
The employer does not have an obligation to report confirmed cases with the CDC. Local health officials are mandatory reporters and will be following their prescribed protocol. We recommend communicating the following information to your employees:
We as a company are elevating our safety precautions. If you or anyone in your home is not feeling well, you MUST work from home or take the necessary time off if you are ill. In addition, we expect you to stay home for a minimum of two weeks after all symptoms have dissipated.
If you have reason to believe that you have been exposed to COVID-19, you will be required to self-report this to your manager. There will be no retaliation or employment decisions based upon your self-disclosure. However, we wish to be able to notify any colleagues, vendors, or clients with whom you have been in contact that they could have possibly been exposed. We will ask you to identify all individuals who worked in close proximity (three to six feet) with you in the previous 14 days to ensure we have a full list of those who should be notified and/or sent home. If this is necessary, it will be communicated such that your personal name and information are protected and will not be identified.
If you are in a client facing position that requires your onsite presence to complete service expectations, please evaluate each situation with your client to determine if CDC recommended social distancing practices are in place prior to your onsite visit. If you have an underlying condition that would make you at higher risk of COVID-19, please discuss with your manager so that alternate work arrangements can be made for you. You do not need to disclose what your underlying medical condition is – merely that you must further limit social interaction. Jennifer Wheatley, President, HR Affiliates