Covid-19 Information & Resources for Employers
We have compiled a list of federal and state resources for NH Grocers Association members. This easy-to-read guide is a compilation of answers to questions we’ve received, including business suspension tips and financial resources you can access. We will update resources as more information is developed.
Paycheck Protection Program Information & FAQ’s
The Paycheck Protection Program is a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll. SBA will forgive loans if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities.
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) provided temporary new authority and broad flexibility for the Agriculture Department (USDA) and states to adapt the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) to address many people’s food needs during the current public health emergency and immediate economic shock from the COVID-19 pandemic. Recently it was announced New Hampshire will distribute $5,499,000 in each of the next two months, to an estimated 27,600 households. These funds will be distributed on April 15 and on May 5. Store food supplies should be plentiful to accommodate the recipient’s needs.
For more information: https://www.fns.usda.gov/
How are food Retailers Protecting Employees
Safety and Sanitation Practices in Grocery Stores
What You Need to Know: Food & COVID-19
Congress passes, President Signs Families First Coronavirus Response Act
HR 6201, the Families First Coronavirus Act, becomes law 15 days after President’s signature. Paid sick leave and paid family leave provisions apply to private sector companies with less than 500 employees. companies with 50 or fewer employees can apply for hardship waivers if providing paid leave “would jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern.” Companies covered by the policy will not foot the bill for paid leave. The government is providing new tax credits to offset the costs of accommodating the new mandate and the economic impact of the outbreak.
- Mandatory Paid Sick Leave
Up to two weeks (80 hours) paid sick leave for full time employees (part time employees receive proportionally less) for qualifying emergencies related to COVID – 19 at 100% of employee’s salary (capped at $511/day) regardless of length of employment.
- Paid Family Medical Leave
Up to 12 weeks of paid family leave (initial 10 days are unpaid, but mandatory paid sick time could be used during this period) for any employee who has worked a minimum of 30 days. This provision becomes effective 15 days after the bill has been enacted and sunsets at the end of 2020. Employees will receive 2/3rds of salary (capped at $200/day).
- No Cost Coronavirus Testing
Testing will be provided at no cost for individual
IRS extends payment deadline to July 15th, 2020
The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service are providing special payment relief to individuals and businesses in response to the COVID-19 Outbreak. The filing deadline for tax returns remains April 15, 2020. The IRS urges taxpayers who are owed a refund to file as quickly as possible. For those who can’t file by the April 15, 2020 deadline, the IRS reminds individual taxpayers that everyone is eligible to request a six-month extension to file their return.
Small Business Administration offers small business federal disaster loans
The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering low-interest federal loans for working capital to New Hampshire small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the COVID-19. The Economic Injury Disaster Loans of up to $2 million are intended to help meet financial obligations and operating expenses which could have been met had the disaster not occurred. The loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic. Applicants can apply online .
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission offers employer guidance for COVID-19
The EEOC is providing employers with relevant information on interacting with employees during the state of emergency created by the COVID-19 pandemic. Topics include how much information an employer can request for employees calling in sick; whether employers can require sick employees stay at home; whether employers who are hiring can screen potential new employees for symptoms related to COVID-19, and much more.
State unemployment office inundated with new unemployment claims
To help meet the demand of an unprecedented number of new filings for unemployment benefits, the New Hampshire Department of Employment Security has instituted a new policy requiring individuals filing for benefits to do so on certain days based on the first letter of their last name. Governor Sununu has waived the one-week waiting period for filers. Individuals who are unemployed or have lost hours due to coronavirus related circumstances are able to file for unemployment benefits. All NHWorks offices are closed to the public and filings must be completed online using this link: NH Department of Employment Security
NH Department of Labor – Suspension of Workplace Audits and Inspections
New Hampshire’s Department of Labor is suspending all workplace audits and/or inspections for the duration of the state of emergency. Exceptions will be made if a complaint is filed for non-payment of wages for hours worked or for not having Workers Compensation Insurance coverage for employees working.
Governor Sununu issued Emergency Order #10: – Banning Reusable Bags
The Governor’s latest Emergency Order requires all grocers and retail stores to temporarily transition to use of single use paper or plastic bags. This Order shall apply to grocery stores, supermarkets, convenience stores, retail stores selling any product, and any other similar establishment engaged in in-store sale of retail products to customers
The following links are provided to employers seeking more information on best practices for responding to Coronavirus:
FMI: Comprehensive Coronavirus and Pandemic Preparedness for the Food Industry
Center for Disease Control – Guidance for Business
OSHA Guidance for Employers
US Department of Labor: COVID – 19 Fair Labor and Standards Act
US Department of Labor: COVID – 19 Family Medical Leave Act