(March 27, 2020) This week has been full of changes: Shelter in Place Orders, Families First Legislation and passage of the CARES Act. We’ve included all of these in one Easy to Reference Document.
The new “Shelter in Place” orders were passed by each County or Municipality. Since the State of Missouri has chosen to allow each county or city to develop their own legislation and response to COVID-19, we have a “patchwork” of legislation for each county and city in the state of Missouri. Greene and Christian Counties, along with Springfield developed similar orders.
These orders essentially mandate citizens to stay at home except to obtain necessary supplies, groceries, medical care, pharmacy, gas and banking services. It is also allowable to participate in “outdoor activities” such as walking, biking or golfing. Workers should only report to work if they are involved in essential businesses or performing minimum basic operations for a non-essential company. Working from home is allowed and encouraged in all cases.
Only businesses who provide “essential goods and services” are allowed to be open to the public. Essential businesses are defined in categories that include construction, healthcare, law enforcement, food and agriculture, grocery stores, energy, logistics and transportation, vehicle repair, public works communications, technology, hotels, critical manufacturing, legal, financial insurance, mail, hardware, laundry and lawn care.
As you can imagine, all of this is new to everyone: citizens, businesses, counties and cities. It has been difficult to define certain businesses and impractical to enforce. We’ve attached a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) from the Springfield order. The bottom line is that many businesses have been shuttered. People have and will be laid off or furloughed. All businesses and families will be impacted economically.
Also, this week, Families First Legislation was passed. This legislation goes into effect on April 2, 2020. It contains two key provisions: Emergency Sick and Family Leave (2 weeks) and Emergency Medical Leave (12 weeks, 10 of which must be paid). It covers individuals that are diagnosed or quarantined. It also covers an employee who is caring for a minor child whose daycare or school has been closed because of COVID-19.
The business must post and distribute this new guidance to all their employees and may be responsible for either 100% or 2/3 of regular pay (subject to limitations). A credit for this amount paid can be declared on the business’s next quarterly payroll tax report. Please read this legislation – it’s a significant change. Our Human Resource Consulting Division can help you interpret and manage this process if you need assistance.
Lastly, the House and Senate agreed on a massive Stimulus Bill, the CARES Act. We are reviewing this, along with other financial resources. We plan to provide you with a “financial toolkit” next week that includes meaningful information on loans, insurance premium deferment/financing, legislative financial relief, unemployment and more.
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Ollis/Akers/Arney Insurance & Business Advisors
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