COVID-19 Relief Programs

COVID-19 Relief Programs

by Daniel E. Harrell, Shareholder and Chair of the firm’s General Litigation department. Daniel’s practice focuses primarily on labor and employment litigation and counseling, and non-compete and restrictive covenant litigation.

PENSACOLA (March 18, 2020) –

As the current situation related to the COVID-19 (“coronavirus”) pandemic continues to escalate, many local businesses have questions regarding the types of loans/relief available to them, who to contact related to these programs, and what information or documentation is needed to seek such assistance.  Below is a quick summary of current programs potentially available to local businesses:

Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program

On Monday, March 16, 2020, Governor DeSantis announced the activation of the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program.  This program is available to small business owners in all Florida counties that experienced economic damage as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

  • Amount: up to $50,000 per eligible small business. Loans of up to $100,000 may be made in special cases.
  • Term: 1 year.
  • Interest Rate: Interest-free for 1 year.  12% per annum on any unpaid balance thereafter.
  • Eligibility: For-profit employers with 2 to 100 employees that maintain a place of business in Florida and can show financial harm due to the disaster, for example, by comparing February and March income in 2020 to that in 2019 and 2018 and showing a revenue decline due to COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Application Deadline: May 8, 2020.

Additional information, including application forms to print, can be found at the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program’s website: www.floridadisasterloan.org

Completed applications and required documents can sent by:

Mail:
Florida SBDC Network Headquarters
c/o Florida Emergency Bridge Loan Process
220 West Garden Street, Suite 301
Pensacola, Florida 32502

Email: Disaster@FloridaSBDC.org

Fax: (850) 696-2693

The Florida Small Business Development Center (SBDC) can also help with applications and answer questions about the bridge loan program.  Our regional Florida SBDC can be contacted by phone at (850) 474-2528 or online at www.sbdc.uwf.edu

Federal Small Business Association Disaster Assistance Loans

The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering disaster relief loans for small businesses in designated areas that are experiencing substantial economic injury as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.  The $8.3 billion emergency funding bill, the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020, that was signed on March 6, 2020 helps fund this program.

As of March 17, 2020, no Florida counties have been designated eligible for this program. However, Governor DeSantis has requested an activation of the program and we should see a declaration from the SBA soon.

The loans are for up to $2 million with a 3.75 percent interest rate.

More information can be found at the SBA’s website:

www.sba.gov/disaster-assistance/coronavirus-covid-19

Tax Credits for Paid Sick Leave and Public Health Emergency FMLA

Currently pending before the Senate is the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”), which, if enacted into law, will require small businesses to provide expanded FMLA leave for coronavirus-related issues and to make portions of FMLA leave time paid as opposed to unpaid.  Should an employer have to implement such protocols, there are a number of options available to the employer for tax credits and other relief.  Below is basic information on such; however, as the bill has not yet been enacted, such possibilities are in flux:

  • The FFCRA provides that employers who are required to provide their employees with emergency paid sick leave (“EPSL”; provided for under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act incorporated into the FFCRA, “EPSLA”) and/or public health emergency FMLA may apply for and receive certain tax credits for those payments.
  • Employers may receive a tax credit of up to 100% of the amount of EPSL paid to employees, up to a maximum of $511/day in the case of the employee’s own illness or $200/day if the employee is receiving leave to care for a family member.
  • The tax credit is provided against the employer’s portion of Social Security taxes. These credits can be applied quarterly.
  • In addition, employers may receive a tax credit for the pay they are required to provide employees for public health emergency FMLA. This credit is also provided against the employer’s portion of Social Security taxes, but it is capped at $200 per day and $10,000 for all calendar quarters. If the credit exceeds the employer’s total liability for all employees for any calendar quarter, the excess credit is refundable to the employer.
  • Self-employed individuals may also be eligible for these tax credits.

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Clark Partington’s employment team is equipped to answer questions related to your specific situation. With offices in Pensacola, Destin, Santa Rosa Beach, Tallahassee, and Orange Beach (Alabama), we are a full-service firm, serving the Gulf Coast.  To reach one of Clark Partington’s employment attorneys, contact Daniel Harrell at (850) 208-7033 or dharrell@clarkpartington.com.

About Clark Partington:

Clark Partington is the largest business focused firm in the Florida panhandle with offices in Pensacola, Destin, Grayton Beach & Tallahassee.  The firm also maintains a presence in South Alabama with an Orange Beach office.  Since 1976 Clark Partington has grown to over forty lawyers and has served the people and businesses of Florida through an innovative and collaborative approach to practicing law.  Our lawyers are consistently recognized for their service to the profession and excellence in the courtroom.  More information about the firm’s practice, its attorneys, and recognitions may be found at www.clarkpartington.com.