The Senate’s proposed Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) bill is expected to pass today. The bill includes a $2 trillion emergency stimulus package. The package includes relief for small businesses, including forgivable bridge loans and additional funding for grants and technical assistance.
The House’s proposed Take Responsibility for Workers and Families Act bill was announced yesterday. The bill provides more than $500 billion in grants and interest-free loans with some with forgivable components. A one page explanation of the bill’s details can be found here. It’s unclear if the House will move forward with this bill if the CARES bill passes and becomes law.
Families First Coronavirus Response Act
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) will go into effect on April 2, 2020. The Department of Labor released the following guidance today regarding this law:
The Act provides that employers with less than 500 employees must provide to all employees:
- Two weeks (up to 80 hours) of expanded family and medical leave at the employee’s regular rate of pay where:
- the employee is unable to work because the employee is quarantined (pursuant 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; or
- Two weeks (up to 80 hours) of expanded family and medical leave at two-thirds the employee’s regular rate of pay because the employee is unable to work or telework because of:
- a bona fide need to care for an individual subject to quarantine (pursuant to Federal, State, or local government order or advice of a health care provider),
- or care for a child (under 18 years of age) whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19, and/or
- the employee is experiencing a substantially similar condition as specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the Secretaries of the Treasury and Labor.
Fewer than 50 Employee Exemption:
- Small businesses with fewer than 50 employees may qualify for exemption from the requirement to provide leave due to school closings or childcare unavailability if the leave requirements would jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern.
- This exemption does not appear to apply to the rest of the paid sick leave requirements. If this guidance changes, we will let you know.
- Businesses are not automatically exempt. Businesses must apply for the exemption. Guidance on how to apply for an exemption is still pending.
Additional DOL guidance can be found here.
The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) has issued two emergency orders over the past two weeks. The first order, Emergency Order 2020 – 01, suspends and tolls for 30 days any existing renewal deadline for a license, permit, registration or certificate. The second order, Emergency Order 2020 – 03, suspends and tolls all time and notice requirements and deadlines for final agency action or applications for permits, licenses, rates and other approvals through May 31, 2020.
Governor DeSantis has also indicated that he may revise the reemployment requirements for individuals seeking benefits due to job loss related to the coronavirus. No changes have been made at this time, though.
We are actively monitoring applicable legislative and governmental guidance. If you have questions or concerns, please reach out to us at 727-563-1500.