As many small and mid-sized businesses and nonprofits struggle to keep their doors open during the coronavirus pandemic, legislators scrambled to pass bills designed to offer some relief for cash-strapped organizations and workers. Nonprofits should review each of these acts in full with their human resources director to comply with employment laws and ensure that their organization remains in full compliance with the law.
The COVID-19 CARES Act
The four employment laws listed below were amended or launched as part of the 2020 COVID-19 response. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was signed into law by President Trump on March 27, 2020. It provides various tax credits, loans, and other economic assistance to small businesses, including nonprofit organizations.
Employers must read the complete documentation provided by the government very carefully to see if they qualify for a particular relief act.
Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act and Extended FMLA
The U.S. Department of Labor issued the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act and extended the Family Medical Leave Act. The act requires employers with fewer than 500 employees to provide paid sick leave and paid family medical leave. This allows workers to stay home, with pay, if they are ill, and to care for a family member who may also be sick. Since workers are asked to stay at home if they are sick or caring for someone with COVID-19, this act takes the financial burden off of workers that force many to keep working despite ill health.
Paycheck Protection Program
The Paycheck Protection Program, managed by the Small Business Administration, provides small businesses with a loan to continue to fund their payroll. The program, part of the CARES Act, helps small businesses keep employees on their books to avoid increasing the number of people filing for unemployment benefits.
The SBA will forgive loans if all employees are kept on the books for eight weeks, and the money is used solely for payroll, utilities, rent, and mortgage interest.
To apply for a loan, owners may go to any SBA 7 location, an approved federally insured depository institution or credit union, or a Farm Credit System institution participating in it.
The loan also applies to faith-based organizations and nonprofits. For more information related to applying for a loan as a faith-based organization, visit the SBA Q & A.
SOCER Tax Deferral
If your organization is having difficulty paying Social Security taxes, the CARES act allows for the SOCER Tax Deferral. Employers may defer payment of their portion of the Social Security Tax until 2021 and 2022. According to the IRS, 50% of the deferred amount is due by December 31, 2021, and the remaining deferred balance is due on December 31, 2022.
For complete details, please see the IRS information on the SOCER Tax Deferral.
Employee Retention Credit
Another part of the CARES Act is the Employee Retention Credit. It is a tax credit given to eligible employers. The refundable tax credit is equal to 50 percent of qualified wages. This program has precise rules about eligibility and qualified wages, so read the IRS documentation carefully to understand the full ramifications of the credit. When the employer’s credit exceeds the available tax liability, the IRS recommends that form 7200 be used to request the additional credit.
Will the CARES Act Continue?
The CARES Act will likely continue to be in place for most of 2020 as the government seeks relief for small and medium-sized businesses. The situation continues to evolve, so watch this blog as well as local business news for any possible changes.
If you’d like some help with nonprofit planning, contact Welter Consulting. Welter Consulting bridges people and technology together for effective solutions for nonprofit organizations. We offer software and services that can help you with your accounting needs. Please contact Welter Consulting at 206-605-3113 for more information.