COVID-19 and Unemployment

COVID-19 Information for Employers and Employees

There is a ton of information online in regard to COVID-19, Health Insurance, Unemployment Insurance, Paid leave and Loans. In this post I will attempt to give you the MOST CONCISE and INFORMATIONAL breakdown and articles that I have found.

Required Poster

This poster notifying employees of their right must be posted in a common work area. For employees that are teleworking it must be emailed to them.

Paying for Health Insurance

Concerned about keeping your employee’s health insurance active? Many carriers are willing to work with companies to help them avoid plan cancellation.

Humana – Groups can work directly with Humana to discuss available options, which are a payment extension or payments plan. The group can contact the Employer Billing and Enrollment team at 1-800-232-2006 for additional assistance.

AetnaGroups can call into the Aetna Payment Team to request a payment extension or payments plan. The number is: 855-319-7290. 

Kaiser – Kaiser will not cancel groups through April for non-payment. Further guidance will be coming.

Anthem/BCBS – We can request a payment extension for you. Please let us know if you need this!

National General – Groups will have an additional 30 day grace period from when premiums are due for a total grace period of 60 days. Please let us know if you are planning to go beyond the standard, 30 day grace period.

UHC – If you have a hardship, please contact the UHC billing office at 888-842-4571.

Please let us know if you need assistance!

Federal CARES Act

The CARES Act does the following for Unemployment Benefits:

  • A flat $600 benefit, which is paid on top of the regular unemployment compensation to which the worker is entitled
  • Waiver of any benefit application waiting period, so that workers can apply, and receive benefits, immediately
  • An extension of the period of benefits
  • An extension of coverage to workers who otherwise would not be eligible for unemployment benefits, or who otherwise would have exhausted their unemployment benefits
  • The creation of federal funding for state short-time programs, under which workers are not terminated, but are retained by the employer with reduced hours.

https://www.natlawreview.com/article/unemployment-compensation-under-cares-act

All of these new benefits are administered by the states through agreements with the Secretary of Labor. This means we need to wait on further guidance from the Georgia DOL!

Georgia DOL Unemployment Guidance

This is the most important place to stay up to date with DOL guidance and implementation of the CARES Act:

Click below for two flyers from the Georgia DOL website with frequently asked questions about COVID-19 and unemployment: https://dol.georgia.gov/gdol-covid-19-information

1.) For Employees – Please disseminate to employees.

2.) For Employers – Please look over.

Best Resource: https://dol.georgia.gov/gdol-covid-19-information

Families First Coronavirus Response Act

This takes effect on April 1, 2020 and ends Dec 31, 2020. This regulation requires companies to supply both full and part time workers with additional, paid leave.

Paid Sick Leave due to Coronovirus related symptom or containment orders:

Full time – 80 hours – Paid at regular wages, cannot exceed $511 per day.

Part time – Equal to the average of 2 normal work weeks – Paid at regular wages, cannot exceed $511 per day.

Paid Sick Leave due to caring for someone related to Coronavirus or school/daycare closure:

Full time – 80 hours – Paid at 2/3 of regular wages, cannot exceed $200 per day.

Part time – Equal to the average of 2 normal work weeks, paid at 2/3 of regular wages cannot exceed $200 per day.

Expanded Families and Medical Leave Act:

If you are taking family and medical leave that extends beyond 80 hours, you will be paid for 10 weeks at 2/3 of your regular rate of pay. You cannot receive more than $200 per day or $12,000 for the twelve week period including paid sick leave

Best Resource: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-questions

CARES Act and Forgivable Small Business Loans

This part of the CARES act will be very important for companies that are struggling during this time. You may be able to qualify for a loan under the Paycheck Protection Program. You may also qualify to have your loan forgiven!

Under this program:

  • Eligible recipients may qualify for a loan up to $10 million determined by 8 weeks of prior average payroll plus an additional 25% of that amount.
  • Loan payments will be deferred for six months.
  • If you maintain your workforce, SBA will forgive the portion of the loan proceeds that are used to cover the first 8 weeks of payroll and certain other expenses following loan origination.
Best Resource: https://www.sba.gov/page/coronavirus-covid-19-small-business-guidance-loan-resources

Please note that these summaries are my own reading of the regulations. We cannot give legal or tax advice. I encourage you to read all linked and attached publications.

 

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