More COVID-19 updates

To get the latest, most accurate information, we are checking with state and national agencies directly. (See bottom of post).

“The only way to get through this is together” – heard on NPR recently and couldn’t agree more.

Things we know:

  • Tax Day is now July 15
  • The unemployment benefits application checklist does NOT include a requirement to use up PTO or sick time before filing for unemployment due to coronavirus-related job loss. Unless there is fine print that I’m not aware of.
  • Employers receive 100% reimbursement for paid leave pursuant to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act
  • The FFCRA goes into effect 4/2/20. Section D provides:
    • Requirement for employers with less than 500 employees to provide Paid Sick Leave and Family Medical Leave to their employees in specific situations associated with COVID-19.
    • To offset the cost to businesses, Employer Social Security Tax will be reduced by the amount of Paid Sick and Family Medical Leave costs covered by employers.
  • The FFCRA expands FMLA and paid sick leave
    • Beginning and End Date: Both the expanded FMLA and the emergency paid sick leave provisions take effect on April 2, 2020, and expire on Dec. 31, 2020. 
    • What Employers Are Covered? Both provisions apply to all employers with fewer than 500 employees, including public agencies. Both allow employers of an employee who is a healthcare provider or an emergency responder to elect to exclude the employee from these two provisions. Both also allow subsequent Department of Labor regulations to exempt small businesses with fewer than 50 employees if applying these provisions would jeopardize the viability of the business.
    • Who Is Eligible? Under the FMLA provision, both full and part-time employees who have been on the employer’s payroll for 30 days are eligible. But the paid sick leave provision applies to all employees, regardless of length of service.
  • QuickBooks has launched a Small Business Relief Initiative where you can start a GoFundMe for your business or check out the resources they have provided. 
  • I’m sure we’re all aware Jay Inslee ordered all Washingtonians who are not essential workers to stay at home  
  • The entire state of Washington is now eligible for an SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan

WA State Agencies:

  1. Employment Security: Check the ALERTS tab at the top of the screen. On 3/18, ESD published an update about the spike in demand for unemployment insurance and automated denial letters going out incorrectly because their software hasn’t been updated. They have a manual workaround for cases like these. A business may now put their part-time employees on standby as well as their full-time employees. You are probably already aware that Gov. Jay Inslee announced the waiver of the one week waiting period for unemployment insurance benefit . The ESD page for employer information  covers FAQ’s such as:
    • Q.  What if I need to temporarily lay off employees due to a slowdown of business which is not directly linked to COVID-19?
    • A.  You may request to place an employee on standby and your employee can collect unemployment benefits without having to look for other work. While on standby, workers must accept any work you offer that they can do without breaking isolation or quarantine. Relief of benefit charges cannot be granted in this situation.
    • Q. How do I designate my employee to be on standby to make sure they receive the maximum benefit?
    • A. Our technology is catching up to our emergency rulemaking. Employers won’t be able to designate the maximum amount of standby time allowed by emergency rules in eServices until we apply an update to the system. We are working on that, and when complete, an employee’s existing application for standby will be automatically extended. No action is needed by employers at this time.
  2. Department of Labor & Industries: the COVID-19 common questions page has resources for Paid Sick Leave and Worker’s Compensation. 

We sincerely hope that you, your families, and your employees are well.

Emily & Jocelyn

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