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What You Need to Know About the Look-back Measurement Method and COVID-19The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires applicable large employers (ALEs) to offer affordable, minimum value health coverage to their full-time employees or possibly pay a penalty. This employer mandate is also known as the “employer shared responsibility” or “pay or play” rules.

ALEs can use one of two methods to determine whether employees are full time under the employer shared responsibility rules:

  • The monthly measurement method determines full-time status for each calendar month based on the employee’s hours of service in that month.
  • The look-back measurement method determines full-time status for a longer period of time based on average hours of service during a prior period.

 

The evolving coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has caused some confusion and uncertainty in applying the look-back measurement method during periods of layoff, furlough, and COVID-19 related periods of paid and unpaid leave.

This ACA Compliance Bulletin provides information for employers regarding how the look-back measurement method applies to COVID-19 related absences.

Download the Compliance Update

We will continue to share information as it becomes available and keep you informed. If you have questions, please reach out to your Account Manager.Compliance Bulletin – Look Back Measurement

On March 27, 2020, the President signed a $2 trillion stimulus package (CARES Act) that included $349 billion for new, partially forgivable small business loans to cover certain payroll costs, mortgage interests, rents and utilities payments. The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loans will charge interest at no more than 4% and will be administered by the Small Business Administration (SBA). As the program’s name implies, PPP Loans are designed to provide cash to small businesses, including sole proprietors and independent contractors. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has issued the following guide to help small businesses and self-employed individuals prepare to file for a loan.

Small Business Guide to Emergency Loans


We have compiled the highlights of this new program below and recommend consulting with your legal and/or financial advisers regarding this matter.

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loans for Small Businesses

  • This new program provides 8 weeks of cash-flow assistance to small employers, including sole proprietors and independent contractors. Employers who maintain their payroll can get the loan forgiven for the portion of the loan that is used for payroll, rent, and utilities.
  • Businesses can borrow 2.5 times what their average monthly payroll was during the period of 2/15/20 to 12/31/20. While your business can spend your loan on any expenses, it will only be forgiven later if you spend 75% of it on payroll and 25% of it on the other approved items during the 8-weeks after you receive the loan. Any portion of your loan that is not forgiven will be converted to a loan that has a .5% interest rate and must be repaid within 2 years.
  • Small businesses and sole proprietors can begin applying this Friday, April 3rd. Self-employed and independent contractors can begin applying Friday, April 10th.
  • These new Paycheck Protection Program loans will be handled through private banks and lenders. If you are interested in applying for a PPP loan, you should contact your local banker to ask if they are approved to handle PPP loans. If your bank is an authorized 7a lender, you will be able to apply for these loans through them.

Download the PPP Factsheet

Download the PPP Application


Additional Loan Tools

Do you qualify as a small business?

Here is the Small Business Administrations guide to size standards. This is a quick reference for quickly checking eligibility. We recommend also reviewing the SBA guidelines for eligibility.

Small Business Administration Loan Application

For more details, visit the U.S. Treasury Department’s new website at home.treasury.gov/cares.

If you have any questions, please reach out to your Gulfshore Insurance Client Advisor who can direct you to the appropriate resources.

Jobsite Safety and Recordkeeping Guidance During CoronavirusThe Department of Homeland Security considers construction an “essential critical infrastructure workforce.” However, all safety measures that can be taken, should be taken. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) has taken the initiative and put together a detailed plan that outlines the steps that every employer and employee can take to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19.

The plan describes how to prevent worker exposure to coronavirus, protective measures to be taken on the job site, personal protective equipment and work practice controls to be used, cleaning and disinfecting procedures, and OSHA guidance on what to do if a worker becomes sick, including record-keeping requirements.

National Association of Home Builders COVID-19 Plan:

 

These resources are also available in Spanish, here.

Gulfshore Insurance is focused on supporting and addressing client concerns. Visit our Coronavirus Resource Center for guidance on risk management measures and resources to help manage ongoing operations.

Beginning April 1, 2020, many employers must provide eligible employees with paid leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. However, small businesses may qualify for an exemption to certain leave requirements. Here are the highlights from the DOL:

  • An employer must have fewer than 50 employees and the leave must be needed due to a school closing or childcare unavailability.
  • An employer must also determine that the leave would put its business at risk. The DOL has provided guidance on this requirement.
  • According to the DOL, there are three ways for determining whether the leave jeopardizes a business.

 

Small employers should review the DOL’s guidance to determine whether they would qualify for an exemption for the paid leave requirements.

We will continue to share information as it becomes available and keep you informed. If you have questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to us.

Department of Labor Issues Additional Guidance Regarding the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has now published materials to aid employers in ensuring compliance with this new law, including questions and answers, and the required workplace poster.

Updated DOL FFCRA Notice/Poster
The Department of Labor has issued the Families First Coronavirus Response Act notice/poster. Unfortunately, the first version the DOL issued had a slight error, so the DOL issued a corrected poster to clear up the confusion. You can download the correct version here. The DOL also issued FAQs regarding the notice, which can be found here. Covered employers should post this notice at their workplaces no later than April 1 (the effective date of FFCRA). Additionally, for employers who have employees working remotely, the notice should be sent out by email or regular mail, or by posting it on the company intranet or website.

DOL Issues Additional FAQ on FFCRA
The DOL expanded its existing FAQ on the FFCRA — adding nearly 10 pages of content regarding the new requirements for paid sick leave (E-PSLA) and paid family medical leave (E-FMLA). You can download the Q&A here.

Gulfshore Insurance is focused on supporting and addressing client concerns. Visit our Coronavirus Resource Center for guidance on risk management measures and resources to help manage ongoing operations.