Articles Tagged with COVID-19

AdobeStock_330926552-300x203We are beginning to see hopeful signs about the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, and the conversation about when and how to reopen the U.S. economy is beginning in earnest.  In the meantime, however, the restrictions remain in effect.  What can businesses do to try to increase their odds of surviving the crisis?

  • Assess all costs and expenses to determine if any costs can be eliminated or delayed. Cut back or cut out expenses that are entirely within your control to adjust.  Where you don’t have the right to cut back, speak with vendors to see if they will agree to temporarily modify terms, perhaps in return for longer terms or other compromises.  Evaluate force majeure provisions to see if the coronavirus pandemic might provide grounds to terminate or renegotiate unfavorable agreements.  Determine if any counterparties are failing to perform under your agreements, and if such nonperformance might allow you to terminate or renegotiate those agreements. Weigh the potential long term costs and potential short term benefits of breaching agreements.  Note renewal and expiration dates of all agreements.  Discuss all of these potential actions with an attorney to make sure that you fully understand the potential risk of taking any of these measures.
  • Review existing lines of credit and other sources of cash, and consider drawing down on those lines in full to increase cash reserves. Speak with existing creditors about potentially delaying payments or other forbearance.

FFCRA-300x200The Family First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) includes an expansion of both the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA) and the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLEA).  The FFCRA is in part designed to combat negative effects of COVID-19 on the workforce.  The Act includes providing qualifying employers (under 500 employees) with certain incentives and tax credits to offset the cost of providing employee paid sick-leave for COVID-19 related reasons.

The US Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division is responsible for administering these portions of the FFCRA and is promulgating regulations to implement same to assist working families facing public health emergencies arising out of the pandemic.  The provisions are set to expire on December 31, 2020 and therefore the rules are (currently) effective starting April 1, 2020 through the end of the current year, 2020.

The Department, in addition to issuing rules and providing direction for administration of EPSLA (which requires certain employers provide up to 80 hours of paid sick leave under certain conditions), has stated the following qualifying conditions for assistance:

AdobeStock_327922973-300x200Don’t let a data security issue become a public relations nightmare for your enterprise.  Huge gains in efficiency and productivity are in the cards for any enterprise that can keep pace with technology.  However, with any technological advance, risks and pitfalls are abound.  Especially when it comes to Data Security.  Indeed, many have already succumbed to these pitfalls; think healthcare agencies, credit reporting agencies, and even the US Government (remember Edward Snowden?).  Considering most businesses and industries are currently in some form of lock-down, Data Security and Data Security Practices are crucial.  If your enterprise is fortunate enough to have remote work capability and your current Data Security practices are somewhat lacking, consider these basic tips for our current COVID-19 Era.

  • Learn from your prior mistakes. It is said we can learn much more form our failures compared to our successes.  If your organization has already been the victim of a Data Security issue, hopefully you have already implemented practices to prevent the same occurrence in the future.  Continually revisiting your Data Security practices is important in many respects, to name just a few:  1) It serves to minimize future occurrences, 2) It serves to reinforce your polices, 3) It demonstrates the importance of the issue to your workforce, and 4) It could serve to cut-off (or at least limit) liability/damages in the event of a failure.  Make regular review of your practices a priority.
  • Limit who has access. Does everyone in your organization need access to all your critical systems and information?  Probably not.  Considering who needs access, and what information they need access to, is an important consideration.

AdobeStock_333866940-300x200The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, signed into law on March 27, 2020.  It includes provisions that are helpful to individuals who find themselves laid off by their employers during this unprecedented time.

The law adds an additional $600 in weekly unemployment benefits from the federal government on top of whatever benefits one would be entitled under state law.  In California, that means individuals could receive up to $1,050 per week, from the date the CARES Act was signed up until July 31, 2020.

The CARES Act also provides for one-time payments to individuals and families.  Individuals making $75,000 per year or less can expect a payment of $1,200.  Married couples filing jointly earning less than $150,000 can expect $2,400, in addition to a $500 payment for each child.  The amounts paid out decrease depending on how much one earns and completely phase-out for individuals earning more than $99,000 and married couples earning more than $198,000.

AdobeStock_328389408-300x183In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. federal government passed the CARES Act, a $2 trillion stimulus package aimed at softening the economic distress suffered by American businesses and individuals.  The massive stimulus package authorizes up to $349 billion in forgivable loans through the Paycheck Protection Program to help small businesses pay their employees during the COVID-19 crisis.

When can you apply?

Starting Friday, April 3, 2020, small businesses and sole proprietorships can apply for and receive loans to cover their payroll and other specified expenses through Small Business Administration (SBA) lenders.  Starting April 10, 2020, independent contractors and self-employed individuals can apply for and receive similar loans.

Covid-19-Adobe-Stock-Photo-300x171In response to the unprecedented challenges presented by the Coronavirus pandemic, several Federal and State laws have been passed to assist businesses during these difficult times.  Some cities have enacted ordinances, and certain companies have announced programs to assist their customers in dealing with the impact of the COVID-19 virus.  These programs include:

Federal Programs

  • The Paycheck Protection Program

Paycheck-Protection-Program-300x156The U.S. Business Administration (“SBA”) has implemented the Paycheck Protection Program, which provides $349 billion in administered loan and loan forgiveness relief to small businesses in financial need.  Small businesses with less than 500 employees are eligible to participate in the program, in addition to sole proprietors, independent contractors and self-employed individuals.  The Paycheck Protection Program offers loans up to $10 million for business expenses including payroll, rent, mortgage interest, utilities, and certain group health plan fees.  Business that elect to participate in the program are not required to provide collateral or show that their financial hardship is related to the COVID-19 crisis.  The Paycheck Protection Program offers a 6-month grace period in which lenders are obligated to defer loan payments.  Further, business that use their loan on payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities in the 8-week span after the loan is funded can be forgiven up to the full amount of the loan.  This forgiven amount is considered taxable income.  The Paycheck Protection Program will expire on June 30, 2020.

Call an Experienced San Jose Business Lawyer Today  

To schedule your consultation with one of our San Jose business attorneys, call Structure Law Group, LLP today at 408-441-7500 or contact us online.

 

AdobeStock_330935716-300x169Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many non-essential businesses have been shut down, resulting in an unprecedented economic downfall for many employers.  In efforts to provide relief for employers, the government has passed the CARES Act, which will allow employers to save costs by deferring their Social Security payroll tax (6.2%) payments.  This deferral period applies to employee wages accrued between March 27, 2020 and December 31, 2020.  Once the deferral period has passed, the employer will be obligated to pay the “deferred amounts” to the U.S. Treasury in two installments.  The first half of the deferred amount of payroll taxes will be due on December 31, 2021, while the remaining half will be due on December 31, 2022.  The CARES Act also applies to all employers regardless of their sizes, including individuals who are self-employed.  The only exception is employers who have already received Small Business Act loans that are forgiven under the Cares Act.  These employers do not qualify for the payroll tax deferral.

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AdobeStock_332772649-300x200In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Small Business Administration (“SBA”) has agreed to disburse Emergency Economic Injury Grants of up to $10,000 to companies experiencing financial struggles.  Small business owners that apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan are eligible to receive the grants, which do not need to be repaid.

The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan provides small businesses with working capital loans of up to $2 million that provide crucial economic support to businesses dealing with loss of revenue due to COVID-19.

Companies that apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan will be provided immediate economic relief by the $10,000 economic injury grant.  Sole proprietors, landlords, vendors and self-employed contractors are all considered small businesses eligible to apply for the disaster loan.

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