Employer / Employee HR Resources

COVID-19 Response Plan Templates for Low, Medium and High Risk Employer's

COVID-19 Prevention and Response for Employers (issued by St. Clair County Health Department)
FAQ's for Employers
The Reopening Playbook: What US Employers Should Be Thinking About Right Now
COVID-19 Pandemic: Supervisors’ Guide to Managing Remote Workers
COVID-19 has my team working remotely / A guide for leaders
How to keep remote workers engaged
Supply Chain Recovery due to Coronavirus (Now and In The Future)
Planning and Preparing to Get Back To Work
Reopening Guide for Real Estate Managers

12 Vital Actions for Restarting Your Business


Reopening of Schools - Paid Leave eligibility under FFCRA

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) published new frequently asked questions (FAQs) for workers and employers about qualifying for paid leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) related to the reopening of schools.

This guidance explains eligibility for paid leave relative to the varied formats and schedules schools have announced as they plan to reopen, including blending in-person with distance learning. WHD offers this information to explain the benefits and protections available under both the paid sick leave and the expanded family and medical leave provisions of the FFCRA.


  1. My child’s school is operating on an alternate day (or other hybrid-attendance) basis. The school is open each day, but students alternate between days attending school in person and days participating in remote learning. They are permitted to attend school only on their allotted in-person attendance days. May I take paid leave under the FFCRA in these circumstances? (added 08/27/2020)

Yes, you are eligible to take paid leave under the FFCRA on days when your child is not permitted to attend school in person and must instead engage in remote learning, as long as you need the leave to actually care for your child during that time and only if no other suitable person is available to do so. For purposes of the FFCRA and its implementing regulations, the school is effectively “closed” to your child on days that he or she cannot attend in person. You may take paid leave under the FFCRA on each of your child’s remote-learning days.

  1. My child’s school is giving me a choice between having my child attend in person or participate in a remote learning program for the fall. I signed up for the remote learning alternative because, for example, I worry that my child might contract COVID-19 and bring it home to the family. Since my child will be at home, may I take paid leave under the FFCRA in these circumstances? (added 08/27/2020)

No, you are not eligible to take paid leave under the FFCRA because your child’s school is not “closed” due to COVID–19 related reasons; it is open for your child to attend. FFCRA leave is not available to take care of a child whose school is open for in-person attendance. If your child is home not because his or her school is closed, but because you have chosen for the child to remain home, you are not entitled to FFCRA paid leave. However, if, because of COVID-19, your child is under a quarantine order or has been advised by a health care provider to self-isolate or self-quarantine, you may be eligible to take paid leave to care for him or her. See FAQ 63.

Also, as explained more fully in FAQ 98, if your child’s school is operating on an alternate day (or other hybrid-attendance) basis, you may be eligible to take paid leave under the FFCRA on each of your child’s remote-learning days because the school is effectively “closed” to your child on those days.

  1. My child’s school is beginning the school year under a remote learning program out of concern for COVID-19, but has announced it will continue to evaluate local circumstances and make a decision about reopening for in-person attendance later in the school year. May I take paid leave under the FFCRA in these circumstances? (added 08/27/2020)

Yes, you are eligible to take paid leave under the FFCRA while your child’s school remains closed. If your child's school reopens, the availability of paid leave under the FFCRA will depend on the particulars of the school’s operations. See FAQ 98 and 99.


Wheels to Work Program

Is your company facing these challenges?  

  • Employees missing work or being tardy due to unreliable transportation?
  • Your facility not located on a public transportation route?
  • Difficulty recruiting new employees due to your company's physical location?

Wheels to Work is a new ride-to-to work program for those with transportation barriers.  With the Wheels to Work program, both the employee and employer share a flat, affordable fare.  What companies are using this program?  Click here to view the list.  Want to learn more, visit: https://ridewheelstowork.com/

EDA hosted a live webinar on July 21 that reviewed the program, followed by Q&A.  It is available On Demand until July 31.  Watch webinar 

 

Personal Protection Equipment Needs: 

Reopening resources (and safety protocols) for multipe industries:  Restore Your Economy 

Additional safe work resources:

Magna: https://www.oesa.org/sites/default/files/page/20200414_Magna_SmartStartPlaybook_V0.18_EXTERNAL.pdf

APTIV: https://www.aptiv.com/SafeOps

Nemak: https://www.oesa.org/sites/default/files/page/Covid-19%20Pandemic%20Control%20Plan%20v4.0.pdf

OSHA: https://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3990.pdf

OSHA Standards: https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/covid-19/standards.html

National Safety Council: https://www.nsc.org/work-safety/safety-topics/coronavirus

World Health Organization: https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/getting-workplace-ready-for-covid-19.pdf

CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/guidance-business-response.html


COVID-19 Safe Work Playbook developed by Lear Corporation and recommend by the Center for Automotive Research

Business Webinars / Online Resources

MI-SBDC (mutliple on demand webinars, resources and assistance to assit during Covid-19)
SBA (Small Business Guidance during Covid-19)
 

For Employers

 

Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020 Summary

 

On June 5, 2020, President Trump signed the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020 (PPP Flexibility Act) into law. The PPP Flexibility Act provides the following: 

·         Extends the PPP loan maturity date from two years to five years. This provision only applies to PPP loans made on or after June 5, 2020, or to any existing loan if the borrower and lender agree to amend the loan documents to provide for a five-year maturity.

·         Extends the covered period for using loans from eight weeks to the earlier of 24 weeks after the loan is disbursed, or December 31, 2020. Existing borrowers can still elect to use an eight-week covered period.

·         Extends the deadline for rehiring employees who were laid off or whose salaries were reduced prior to April 26, 2020—for purposes of avoiding a reduction in loan forgiveness—from June 30, 2020, to December 31, 2020.

·         Creates an exemption from rehiring requirements—for purposes of avoiding a reduction in loan forgiveness—if the employer is able to document the following:

o    An inability to rehire individuals who were employees on February 15, 2020, and an inability to hire similarly-qualified employees for unfilled positions on or before December 31, 2020; or

o    An inability to return to the level of business activity the business was operating at before February 15, 2020, due to compliance with certain federal sanitation, social distancing and worker or customer safety requirements.

·         Requires businesses to use 60% of loan proceeds on payroll costs (rather than 75%) and allows up to 40% of loan proceeds to be used for non-payroll costs. 

·         Extends the PPP loan repayment deferment period to either: (a) the date on which the amount of forgiveness is remitted by the Small Business Administration (SBA) to the lender; or (b) 10 months after the last day of the covered period if the borrower fails to apply for loan forgiveness within that 10-month period.

·         Allows an employer that receives a PPP loan to defer certain payroll taxes.

While theFlexibility Act is intended to provide more flexibility for borrowers, it also creates some new ambiguities. For example, if the employer elects to use the 24-week covered period, they may have to maintain employment levels during the entire 24 weeks (subject to certain exemptions noted above and ones previously proved by the SBA in its prior guidance). The SBA and Department of Treasury will likely provide additional guidance and clarification.

 

Unpaid Leave vs. Termination

Posted 3/16/20 – By order of the Governor, Michigan Employment Benefits have been temporarily expanded through April 14.  Under the order, an empoyer must not be charged for unemployment benefits if their employees become unemployed because of an executive order requiring them to close or limit operations.  Eligible employees should apply for unemployment benefits online at Michigan.gov/UIA  or 1-866-500-0017. A factsheet on how to apply for benefits can be found here. Due to the uncertainty regarding potential congressional action regarding whether furloughed workers will be able to access federal resources, employers are urged to place employees on temporary leave as opposed to termination. View the State’s guidance for employers contemplating potential layoffs. 

The Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) provided guidance on March 18th to Michigan employers on how to avoid potential layoffs related to Covid-19.  LEO strongly encourages job providers facing work shortages to place their employees on temporary leave as opposed to termination, so that they may remain eligible for potential federal assistance resources (which may include access to federal paid sick, family and medical leave).  Employers are strongly urged to place employees on temporary leave and advise the worker that they expect to have work available within 120-days as opposed to termination.  There is NO additional cost employers, employees remain eligible for UI benefits through the state. 

Steps for employers placing employers on temporary unpaid leave:

  • Do not terminate the employee - specify a temporary/indefinite leave with return to work expected that is within 120 days.
  • Do not create a contractual obligation to bring the employee back to work - Let the employee know the situation is fluid and subject to change.
  • Provide the employee with a formal Unemployment Compensation Notice.  Employers will need to provide their Employer Account Number and Federal Identification Number.  Link to Form.
  • Communicate to the employee about their rights.  Under the Governor's Executive Order, workers are placed on leave, or unable to work because they are sick, quarantined, immunocompromised, or have an unanticipated family care responsibility, are eligible for unemployment insurance benefits.
  • Ensure employers are provided information on how to obtain unemployment insurance benefits.  Fact sheet link here
  • Get each employee’s up-to-date contact information.
  • Let employees know if you will be putting updated information on the entity’s website or intranet, if applicable.
  • Appoint a single, or limited number of individuals who will field questions, and communicate that information to employees.
  • Keep a tally of all questions and answers.  Periodically share with employees.
  • The state is monitoring issues related to continued medical insurance coverage and will update accordingly.

    Elimination of Certain Unemployment Costs to Employers

    Under the governor’s order, an employer or employing unit must not be charged for unemployment benefits if their employees become unemployed because of an executive order requiring them to close or limit operations. 

Michigan Work Share Program
The federal Work Share program allows employers to keep their employees working with reduced hours, while employees collect partial unemployment benefits to make up a portion of the lost wages. Employees enrolled in the work share program get a portion of the state's maximum $362 weekly unemployment compensation, ranging from $36 for a 10 percent reduction in hours to $217 for a 60 percent reduction in hours. Workers who go back to work part time through the work share program also can continue collecting the federal government's $600-a-week pandemic unemployment benefit through the end of July.  View Crain's article on latest updates:  How Laid Off Michigan workers can collect unemployment and go back to work part-time.

What is Michigan's Work Share Program and Should Employers Take Advantage of it?  

A message from EDA's CEO about the Work Share Program

Learn more at www.michigan.gov/WorkShare or watch this video 

This Youtube video that walks an employer through the process of how to enroll in a Work Share Plan, create the unit and add employees to it, then the steps to complete the weekly required certification 

Michigan’s Work Share program allows employers to restart their business and bring employees back from unemployment. Employers can bring employees back with reduced hours - while employees collect partial unemployment benefits to make up a portion of the lost wages. Employers can also retain their current workforce and are given the flexibility to choose which of their employees are part of a Work Share plan.

Michigan Work Share Fact Sheet - Bringing Laid Off Employees Back to Work
Michigan Work Share Fact Sheet - April 2020 / Original Fact Sheet for Employers 

 

Visit the Unemployment Insurance Agency website for: 

·    Unemployment Resources for Employers

·    Employer Frequently Asked Questions

     Labor and Economic Development / FAQ's

 

Warn Notices

With the volume of impacted employers experiencing closures, it is impossible for Michigan’s Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity to keep up with the demand and response to all layoffs currently. The following information and resources below should assist in providing information.

It is important to prioritize permanent layoffs of 50+ employees first, then those with less than 50 employees second.

The following information should be shared with employers and employees impacted as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.

The attached guidance materials include:

1.     Unemployment Insurance 101 One-Pager

2.     Worker Layoffs Due to COVID-19: What You Need to Know One-Pager

Federal law requires employers to provide at least 60 DAYS NOTICE to employees and certain goverment agencies and officials – but there are THREE EXCEPTIONS to that requirement:

1.     “faltering company” applies to plant closings, but not to mass layoffs and should be narrowly construed.

2.     “unforeseeable business circumstance” – Applicable for COVID-19 – applies to plant closings and mass layoffs caused by business circumstances that were not reasonably foreseeable at the time the 60-day notice would have been required.

3.     “natural disaster” applies to plant closings and mass layoffs due to any form of natural disaster.

Notice must be provided as soon as is practicable even when these exceptions apply, and the employer must provide a statement of the reason for reducing the notice requirement, in addition to fulfilling other notice information requirements.

Please refer to the Worker Layoffs Due to COVID-19: What You Need to Know One-Pager linked above regarding submitting written notice.

If you have any questions or comments, please email your TAA/RR State Coordinator or email LEO-RapidResponseCommunications@michigan.gov


Tax Assistance for Small Businesses 

The Michigan Treasury Department is providing small businesses that have experienced disrupted operations due to the COVID-19 additional time to make their sales, use and withholding tax monthly payment. Small businesses scheduled to make these payments on March 20 can postpone filing and payment requirements until April 20. Penalties and interest penalties will be waived for 30 days. Learn more about penalties and interest online or by calling the Treasury Business Tax Call Center at 517-636-6925. 

Information on the Employee Retention Credit, provided by the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS), https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/employee-retention-credit
 
Overview: The Employee Retention Credit is a broad based refundable tax credit designed to encourage employers to keep employees on their payroll. The credit is 50% of up to $10,000 in wages paid by an employer whose business is fully or partially suspended because of COVID-19 or whose gross receipts decline by more than 50%.
 

Employee Retention Credit

The Employee Retention Credit is a refundable tax credit against certain employment taxes equal to 50 percent of the qualified wages an eligible employer pays to employees after March 12, 2020, and before January 1, 2021. 

Eligible employers can get immediate access to the credit by reducing employment tax deposits they are otherwise required to make. Also, if the employer's employment tax deposits are not sufficient to cover the credit, the employer may get an advance payment from the IRS.

For each employee, wages (including certain health plan costs) up to $10,000 can be counted to determine the amount of the 50% credit. Because this credit can apply to wages already paid after March 12, 2020, many struggling employers can get access to this credit by reducing upcoming deposits or requesting an advance credit on Form 7200, Advance of Employer Credits Due To COVID-19.

Employers, including tax-exempt organizations, are eligible for the credit if they operate a trade or business during calendar year 2020 and experience either:

1.      the full or partial suspension of the operation of their trade or business during any calendar quarter because of governmental orders limiting commerce, travel, or group meetings due to COVID-19, or

2.      a significant decline in gross receipts. 

A significant decline in gross receipts begins:

  • on the first day of the first calendar quarter of 2020
  • for which an employer’s gross receipts are less than 50% of its gross receipts
  • for the same calendar quarter in 2019.

The significant decline in gross receipts ends:

  • on the first day of the first calendar quarter following the calendar quarter
  • in which gross receipts are more than of 80% of its gross receipts
  • for the same calendar quarter in 2019.

The credit applies to qualified wages (including certain health plan expenses) paid during this period or any calendar quarter in which operations were suspended.

Qualified wages

The definition of qualified wages depends on how many employees an eligible employer has.

If an employer averaged more than 100 full-time employees during 2019, qualified wages are generally those wages, including certain health care costs, (up to $10,000 per employee) paid to employees that are not providing services because operations were suspended or due to the decline in gross receipts. These employers can only count wages up to the amount that the employee would have been paid for working an equivalent duration during the 30 days immediately preceding the period of economic hardship.

If an employer averaged 100 or fewer full-time employees during 2019, qualified wages are those wages, including health care costs, (up to $10,000 per employee) paid to any employee during the period operations were suspended or the period of the decline in gross receipts, regardless of whether or not its employees are providing services.

Impact of other credit and relief provisions

An eligible employer's ability to claim the Employee Retention Credit is impacted by other credit and relief provisions as follows:

  • If an employer receives a Small Business Interruption Loan under the Paycheck Protection Program, authorized under the CARES Act, then the employer is not eligible for the Employee Retention Credit.
  • Wages for this credit do not include wages for which the employer received a tax credit for paid sick and family leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.
  • Wages counted for this credit can't be counted for the credit for paid family and medical leave under section 45S of the Internal Revenue Code.
  • Employees are not counted for this credit if the employer is allowed a Work Opportunity Tax Credit under section 51 of the Internal Revenue Code for the employee.

Claiming the credit

In order to claim the new Employee Retention Credit, eligible employers will report their total qualified wages and the related health insurance costs for each quarter on their quarterly employment tax returns, which will be Form 941 for most employers, beginning with the second quarter. The credit is taken against the employer's share of social security tax but the excess is refundable under normal procedures.

In anticipation of claiming the credit, employers can retain a corresponding amount of the employment taxes that otherwise would have been deposited, including federal income tax withholding, the employees' share of Social Security and Medicare taxes, and the employer's share of Social Security and Medicare taxes for all employees, up to the amount of the credit, without penalty, taking into account any reduction for deposits in anticipation of the paid sick and family leave credit provided in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (PDF)

Eligible employers can also request an advance of the Employee Retention Credit by submitting Form 7200.

 
 
 
 

 

 
 

FOR EMPLOYEES 

 

Self-Employed, Other Newly Eligible Workers Can Apply for Unemployment on Monday, April 13th - $600 Federal Payments Also Begin

Michigan’s self-employed workers, gig workers, 1099-independent contractors and low-wage workers affected by COVID-19 can apply for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) beginning Monday, April 13 at 8 a.m. Under the federal CARES Act, workers on state unemployment have already begun receiving the set $600 federal weekly payment in addition to their state benefit amount. Michigan is one of the first states to begin sending the $600 payment.  

“Ensuring Michiganders have access to state and federal benefits during this pandemic is a critical part in protecting everyone’s health and safety,” Governor Whitmer said. “We will do everything we can to continue providing emergency financial assistance as quickly as possible to the Michigan working families who have lost income as a result of COVID-19.”  

Newly eligible workers who have yet to apply for unemployment benefits 

Self-employed workers, gig workers, 1099-independent contractors and low-wage workers can apply for federal benefits beginning Monday, April 13 at 8AM online at Michigan.gov/UIA. Online is the fastest and easiest way to access these benefits. Workers need to use the UIA’s daily filing schedule based on their last names which can be found below. For example, last names beginning with letters A-L should start filing claims Monday. 

Newly eligible workers who have been previously denied benefits 

Self-employed workers, gig workers, 1099-independent contractors and low-wage workers who have previously applied for unemployment benefits and have been denied should login to their MiWAM account to complete the next steps for PUA federal benefits. These steps will also be emailed to workers. They should not file a new claim, as that may delay the time it takes to get their benefits.  

All newly eligible workers will need to provide proof of income to receive the maximum amount they are entitled. This could include W-2s, 1099 tax forms, and pay stubs. These workers will begin receiving federal benefits as early as April 20 after their bi-weekly certification. Individuals on paid sick leave or other paid leave – and those who have the ability to telework with pay – are not eligible for PUA.  

“We're committed to making sure everyone who is eligible for unemployment assistance receives their benefits as quickly as possible,” Dept. of Labor and Economic Opportunity Director Jeff Donofrio said. “Michigan is one of the first states to begin sending the additional $600 benefit to workers and our dedicated Unemployment Insurance Agency team is working tirelessly to provide emergency benefits during this crisis.” 

$600 federal payments for workers already receiving state benefits 

Workers already collecting state unemployment benefits have begun receiving the $600 federal set amount in addition to up to $362 they were previously eligible for. These payments are disbursed at the same time as their state benefits through direct deposit or debit card after their bi-weekly certification. 

$600 federal payments for newly eligible workers 

Eligible self-employed workers, gig workers, 1099-independent contractors, and low-wage workers will begin receiving their state benefit amount (paid with federal funds) and the $600 federal payment as early as April 20.   

 

Filing for Unemployment Benefits 

The Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity has instituted a new unemployment insurance filing procedure to help ease the stress on the system and increase efficiency. Also effective today (March 30) our local MichiganWorks! office will no longer offer in-person services. All MiWorks! offices will be closed to the public and assisting customers only via phone, email, fax and any other virtual way they can. Please follow new unemployment filing guidelines listed below:

All eligible workers will receive benefits

The UIA assures that every eligible worker in Michigan who applies for unemployment benefits will receive them. The UIA will be accepting claims and benefit applications back-dated to reflect the date on which the claimant was laid-off due to COVID-19, beyond the previously established 28-day period ($600 federal payment is only retroactive back to March 28).

 

Eligible employees are strongly encouraged to apply for unemployment benefits online at Michigan.gov/UIA or by calling 866-500-0017 using the filing schedule above to call on the appropriate day according to  last name.  . A factsheet on how to apply for benefits can also be found online.  Unable to get through?  The email address is leo-coronavirus@michgan.gov for individuals who can’t get through to UIA. 

Governor Whitmer’s 


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100 McMorran Blvd.
4th Floor, Executive Suite B
Port Huron, MI. 48060
phone: (810) 982.9511


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100 McMorran Blvd. 4th Floor, Executive Suite B | Port Huron, MI. 48060
phone: (810) 982.9511

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