[US] COVID-19 relief updates for payroll

Congress, the White House, and other federal agencies have been taking swift action to provide rapid financial relief to small business owners. Additional actions are likely in the coming days, weeks and months. Wave is closely monitoring and will provide updates as actions become final. Please note that the information provided is subject to change. 

Emergency Paid Sick Leave

Worker's Compensation 

Emergency Paid Sick Leave

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) was signed by President Trump on March 18, 2020. It requires eligible employers to provide employees with paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. Effective April 1 through December 31, 2020, private employers with fewer than 500 employees must provide two weeks of paid sick leave to their full-time employees, part-time employees would get a period of leave equal to the number of hours they work on average over a two-week period. Read more here

CARES Act

The House passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act also referred to the 3rd Stimulus Package on March 27, 2020 a massive $2 trillion package that will provide essential relief to an economy struggling as a result of the coronavirus crisis. Some of the highlights of the package can be found below.

Small business emergency loans

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is offering up to $2 million in Economic Injury Disaster Loans for small business impacted by the coronavirus. Read more about eligibility and how to apply. 

Federally-guaranteed loan programs for small businesses who must pledge not to lay off their workers. The loans would be available during an emergency period ending at the end of June, and would be forgiven if the employer pays its workers for the duration of the crisis. 

Expanded unemployment insurance

  • Expand unemployment insurance by 13 weeks and include a four-month $600 enhancement of benefits, on top of what the state unemployment programs pay.
  • The program was expanded to include freelancers, furloughed employees and gig workers, such as Uber drivers.

Direct payments for most Americans taxpayers

  • Under the plan, individuals who earn $75,000 or less in adjusted gross income would get direct payments of $1,200 each, with married couples earning up to $150,000 receiving $2,400.
  • An additional $500 per child under age 17
  • The payments are phase out are income rises, phasing out entirely at $99,000 for single, $146,500 for head-of-household and $198,000 for married couples

Employee Retention Tax Credit

Was designed to encourage eligible employers to keep employees on their payroll during the coronavirus pandemic. Business will get a tax credit for half of wages paid, up to $5,000 per employee between March 13 and December 31, 2020. Read more here.

Employer Social Security Tax Deferral

Section 2302 of the CARES Acts permits businesses and self-employed individuals to defer the 6.2% employer portion of social security tax due between the enactment date of March 27 and Dec 31, 2020. The deferred tax amount will be due over the following two years: half by Dec. 31, 2021, and the other half by Dec. 31, 2022. Read more here.

Additional Relief Actions

  • On March 15, 2020 The Federal Reserve has announced that it will cut interest rates to 0% and take additional steps to stabilize the economy.
  • On March 17, 2020 Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin announced waivers for interest and penalty for some payments read more here.

Personal Income Tax Returns 

On March 20, 2020 Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin announced the April 15 tax-filing deadline has been extended to July 15, 2020 giving people more time to prepare and pay their taxes without interest or penalties during the coronavirus outbreak.

Worker's Compensation 

If you offer Workers’ Compensation Insurance via Wave’s partnership with AP Intego, here is a full list of helpful FAQs around ongoing coverage during this time.

Pay As You Go Insurance:

AP Intego is ensuring that coverage remains active for customers with Pay As You Go Workers’ Compensation, in case customers are unable or unwilling to run payroll at this time. Therefore, policies will not be cancelled. For any support, please email support@apintego.com or call 888.289.2939 (you can arrange a call-back, as well).

Other Insurance:

At this time, Intego is providing a cash-saving Workers’ Comp Solution during COVID-19, for employers who are mid-term in their current policy. On switching to a Pay As You Go workers’ comp policy, you can:

  • Receive a lump-sum refund of your premium for the unused portion of what you paid up front—a much-needed infusion of cash.
  • Pay only the premiums required based on real-time payroll levels, which are likely reduced at this time.
  • Reduce the likelihood of a lump sum payment at time of your annual policy audit as a result of the real-time accuracy of their payments.

If you’d like to know more, their dedicated team can provide expert advice and speak with employers to see if they qualify for this relief. Please call the hotline at 866.939.1335.

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