▫ CDC Guidance for Businesses & Employers
▫ NC Unemployment Benefits
▫ CARES Act Economic Impact Payments – Status Check
▫ COVID-19 Response Act: FMLA Expansion
▫ IRS Employee Retention Credit
▫ Managing Remote Workers
Health and government officials are working together to maintain the safety, security, and health of the American people. Small businesses are encouraged to do their part to keep their employees, customers, and themselves healthy. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers the most up-to-date information on COVID-19. This interim guidance is based on what is currently known about the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
For updates from the CDC for business and employers, see the following:
Unemployment insurance tax is a tax on employer payrolls paid by employers from which unemployment benefits are paid to qualified unemployed workers. In accordance with Gov. Cooper’s Executive Order 118, employers’ accounts will not be charged for individuals who are paid benefits for reasons related to COVID-19. Visit www.des.nc.gov for more details or contact their call center at 919-707-1150 for assistance.
Gov. Cooper’s Executive Order 118 lifts some restrictions on unemployment benefits to help workers unemployed due to Covid-19 and those who are employed but will not receive a paycheck. Additionally, it adds benefit eligibility for those out of work because they have the virus or must care for someone who is sick.
It directly aids workers who may have lost wages in restaurants and meeting places due to mass gathering restrictions. Among other changes:
Employees can apply for benefits online at www.des.nc.gov 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Or by calling the Customer Call Center at 888-737-0259 on Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm. An account must be created to file an application for Unemployment Insurance online. To create your online account, you will need your Social Security Number and a valid email address.
The NC Division of Employment Security (DES) has received official guidance from the US Department of Labor on implementing the three unemployment programs under the CARES Act. DES is working to modify their systems to make sure people receive accurate payments.
DES is implementing the programs in the following order:
Individuals due any benefits prior to the full implementation of these programs, you will be paid retroactively. For additional information, visit the DES website.
To help everyone check the status of their Economic Impact (or Stimulus) Payment, the IRS is launching a tool that will provide the status of a payment, including the date it’s scheduled to be deposited or mailed. The "Get My Payment" application (coming mid-April) will also allow individuals to confirm the payment type (direct deposit or check), and enter bank account information for direct deposit if needed. For more information, see www.irs.gov/eip or #COVIDreliefIRS.
On March 18, 2020, the COVID-19 Response Act was signed by the President. The recently passed Act includes separate sections that directly affect employers and employees. Three of the COVID-19 Response Act sections are:
The Act provides a series of refundable tax credits for employers paying paid sick leave or family medical leave including tax relief for self-employed individuals. These tax credits will apply against the employer portion of Social Security taxes.
The imposed pay limits may impact the amount of the tax credit. However, employers will receive a refund if their costs for qualified sick leave or qualified family leave wages exceed the taxes they would owe.
The IRS and DOL recently issued joint guidance enabling small and midsize employers to begin taking advantage of the two new refundable payroll tax credits designed to immediately and fully reimburse them, dollar-for-dollar, for the cost of providing Coronavirus-related leave to their employees.
Click here to review a summary provided by JDSupra.
The US Department of Labor has issued additional guidance explaining the paid sick leave and Family and Medical Leave (FMLA) provisions under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. It includes links to a Fact Sheet for Employers, Fact Sheet for Employees, and a Q&A document. Click here for their news release.
The Treasury Department and IRS today began implementing the Employee Retention Credit included in the CARES package signed into law last week.
The program provides a fully refundable tax credit for 50 percent of wages, up to $10,000, for each employee kept on the payroll by businesses that have taken a financial hit because of the pandemic.
Businesses qualify if they have been fully or partially shuttered by government order, or if their gross receipts are below 50 percent of what they took in during a comparable quarter in 2019. They are no longer eligible once their gross receipts rise above 80 percent of the comparable quarter.
The IRS published guidelines today for businesses that want to apply for the credit, which is applied against the employers’ share of payroll taxes.
The agency also issued a notice to shield employers from penalties they may have incurred for failing to deposit employment taxes when tapping a tax credit Congress created to help them cover wages for sick leave and family leave.