New Treasury Guidance on Small Business Loan Program, Employee Retention Credit: The Treasury Department has issued new guidance on the CARES Act’s $350 billion loan fund for small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. Small businesses and sole proprietorships can apply for loans through the “Paycheck Protection Program” starting April 3, while self-employed individuals and independent contractors can apply starting April 10.
Please note, however, that the guidance that the Treasury Department issued was not complete. Full guidance, including operating procedures, is supposed to be out by Friday, April 3rd.
The Paycheck Protection Program is specifically designed to help small businesses keep their workforce employed. Click here for more information. Please contact your bank directly to discuss loan options under the Paycheck Protection Program. More detailed information for borrowers can be found here and an application can be found here.
The Treasury Department also launched the Employee Retention Credit, which you can learn more about here. The Senate Finance Committee released an FAQ document on the credit here.
Paid Leave Requirements go into Effect Today, April 1
Starting today, April 1, businesses with fewer than 500 employees will need to provide employees with paid time off for a variety of reasons relating to COVID-19. Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, eligible employers will need to provide two weeks of paid leave for workers who are quarantined (due to federal, state or local government order or advice of a health care provider) and/or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis. Eligible employers will also need to provide up to 10 weeks of paid leave for workers who need to care for children whose school or childcare facilities are closed. Read more about the Department of Labor’s employer requirements here. Employers will have to post notice of these changes in a similar manner to other poster requirements. Businesses with fewer than 50 employees and those that produce medical products or COVID-19-related medical equipment may be eligible to receive exemptions from the paid leave requirements. Read more about exemptions here.
Congressman Rick Crawford has information on his website related to various aspects of the federal CARES Act, which was signed into law recently here.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has issued a guide regarding mortgage relief options for homeowners concerned abut missing their mortgage payments: here.
The Arkansas Division of Workforce Services is waiting on guidelines from the U.S. Department of Labor that will allow them to update their system to accept Unemployment Insurance (UI) applications from small entrepreneurs, independent contractors, self-employed individuals, etc. They hope to have the guidelines by the end of the week, which will allow them to start updating their application system. They are asking for patience as they work through this process and will have everything updated as soon as possible.
The Department of Arkansas Energy and the Environment has issued broad enforcement guidelines in response to COVID-19. The guidance asks for entities to submit a request for regulatory flexibility to COVID19EE@adeq.state.ar.us. The Arkansas Environmental Federation (AEF) recommends copying the division director to your request. The guidance can be found on DEQ’s website and on AEF’s website.
Gov. Hutchinson has issued an Executive Order suspending provisions of in-person witnessing and notarization of legal documents in state of Arkansas here.
The Arkansas Attorney General’s office wants to know about any instances of price gouging when purchasing essential items during the COVID-19 crisis here.
The Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism is conducting a survey on the effects of COVID-19 and how the Department can better serve the needs of Arkansans here.
Arkansas State Chamber members Mangan Holcomb Partners/Team SI and the Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau have partnered to create an up-to-the-minute resource to help bolster local business and nonprofit efforts in Arkansas here.
Arkansas State Chamber member Wright Lindsey Jennings has COVID-19 guidance and resources on its website: here.
The Venture Center is holding a webinar from 3-4 p.m. Friday, April 3 titled “Critical Help for Entrepreneurs, Solopreneurs and Small Businesses.” To register, click: here.
Seven leadership principles for managers during COVID-19 here
For additional information and resources, check our COVID-19 Coronavirus and Arkansas page here.