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Ohio BWC Update:
The Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation announced that BWC insurance premiums for March, April, and May may be deferred until June 1 (at which time the BWC will revisit this deferral and re-determine). This deferral will not cause your coverage to lapse. More information is available in the press release from Governor DeWine’s office here or from Ohio BWC here.
Click here to read Ohio BWC’s COVID-19 FAQs.
Health Insurance Premium Waiver:
Ohio has announced that businesses will be allowed to temporarily defer their health insurance premiums. Employers can defer their premium payments for health insurance for up to two months interest-free. Please contact your insurance broker for more information. Click here to read the press release from Governor DeWine’s office regarding the Insurance Grace Period.
Temporary or permanent layoffs due to the coronavirus now qualify employees for immediate unemployment benefits. The standard 1-week waiting period has been suspended. For the latest updates visit the ODJFS website. Below are some key points
• Individuals receiving unemployment benefits will NOT be required to actively seek work during the period of layoff or quarantine. This will allow individuals to return to their employer as soon as virus related issues clear.
• State has created a “Common WARN” number (2000180) to aid both employers and employees in the Unemployment process. By using this WARN Number, the state system will recognize the employment is due to the Coronavirus and this will expedite the process. For more details see the ODJFS press release and the unemployment filing worksheet.
• The unemployment claims filed using the Common WARN number will not directly impact your future unemployment rates. These claims will be mutualized across the entire state.
If you have specific questions please reference then Employer Unemployment Booklet (https://innerapp.odjfs.state.oh.us/forms/num/JFS08201/pdf/ or call the Employer Unemployment Direct line: 614-466-2319
Family Medical Leave Act and Paid Sick Leave:
The Families First Coronavirus Act recently was signed by President Trump on Wednesday March 18th and is set to take effect on April 2, 2020. This expands FMLA and paid sick leave access to employees who work at businesses with fewer than 500 employees. For a comprehensive summary of both the FMLA and Paid Sick leave implications of this act prepared by our partner Sharon DeLay of GO-HR, click here. Highlights are shown below:
FMLA - for employees who have worked 30 days or more, this provides job protected leave for 12-weeks to employees who are not able to work or telework due to needing to care for their child due to coronavirus school or childcare closing. Upfront, 10 initial days can be unpaid before the employee begins to receive not less than 2/3 of their regular rate of pay for hours they would have worked. Daily maximum is $200 and 12-week maximum is $10,000.
Paid Sick Leave - 2 weeks of paid sick leave immediately available to all employees (no required number of days worked) who cannot work or telework due to coronavirus infection, quarantine, or experiencing sign/symptoms AND is seeking medical diagnosis. Maximum of $511/day and $5,110 over the 10-day period.
For both the FMLA and Paid Sick leave provisions there are possible exemptions for businesses with fewer than 50 employees.
For additional updates visit the Department of Labor site.
Small Business Disaster Loans:
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has qualified the State of Ohio for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program (EIDL). For a program outline provided by the SBA click here.
As a result, Ohio businesses and non-profits economically impacted by the outbreak of COVID-19 may now apply for a low-interest loan of up to $2 million to help pay for fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. You can apply for the loan online at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/, which is recommended, or by calling 1-800-659-2955 to have an application mailed to you.
To expedite the application process, applicants should have ready complete copies of their most recent federal income tax return (business and personal) and a completed and signed IRS Form 4506T, which authorizes the release of tax information. Additional information to have available would be a schedule of liabilities, personal financial statement, monthly sales figures, a current year-to-date profit-and-loss statement, and a year-end profit-and-loss statement and balance sheet for that tax year if the most recent federal income tax return has not been filed. Be sure to select “Economic Injury” in the what you are applying for section of the loan application.
Highlights of EIDL Program:
• Used to cover fixed and variable costs during the projected coronavirus event time horizon
• No Application Fee
• Unsecured loans up to $25,000
• Secured loans in amounts $25,000 - $2,000,000
• Fixed rate of 3.75% (for-profit businesses) and 2.75% (for non-profit businesses)
• Up to 30-year term (will be determined during underwriting)
• Expected disbursement of funds within 30 days of SBA receiving a complete application
• 12-month deferral of payments after signing of promissory note
Questions can be directed to Jerome Jones in the Columbus SBA office at: 614-427-0476 firstname.lastname@example.org
Your Help Needed: Protective Equipment & Supplies
How to Help - Companies With Medical Supplies, Equipment and Services
• To sell medical supplies or equipment to the federal government, please email specifics to email@example.com.
• If you are a private company that wants to produce a product related to the COVID response – email firstname.lastname@example.org.
• For non-medical supplies, services or equipment, if you are interested in doing business with FEMA, visit our Industry Liaison Program.
How to Help - Logan County Donations of Protective Equipment & Supplies
• Contact the Logan County Emergency Management Agency at (937) 593-5743 or email@example.com to request donations of protective equipment and/or supplies.
• Donations of items can be dropped off at the main entrance of Mary Rutan Hospital's Logan View location at 110 Dowell Avenue, Bellefontaine between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. The following new or unused supplies are currently being collected: gloves, masks (all types), digital thermometers, goggles, face shields, N95 masks, gowns (all types), and hand sanitizer.
Have questions about the coronavirus? Visit these informational sites for resources:
Ohio Department of Health Coronavirus Information: coronavirus.ohio.gov
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Coronavirus Information: cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) COVID-19 Information: osha.gov/SLTC/covid-19
United Way of Logan County – Give Help, Get Help: https://www.uwlogan.org/covid-19-help-logan-county
Updates from DP&L, CenterPoint Energy/Vectren, and Columbia Gas regarding the pandemic
Some basic coronavirus tips for Logan County employers can be found here:
CDC Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers
OSHA Additional COVID-19 Resources by Industry
Small Business Administration Guidance for Employer
MALWARE ALERT: Fake coronavirus map circulating claiming to be a product from Johns Hopkins showing up-to-date global COVID-19 cases. This is actually a strain of malicious software known as AZORult. Please read this article for more information.
Help keep your business running smoothly by implementing these best practices:
1. Have a Business Resiliency/Continuity Plan. How will you operate if your doors need to be closed for a period of time? Can employees work remotely? How will you communicate with employees in event of emergency?
a. NetGain Information Systems is one of our local experts in this field. For a consultation, review of offsite operations options, and to learn more visit netgainis.com or call (937) 593-7177.
2. Evaluate impacts to your supply chain – particularly if your inventory, supplies, or raw materials come from regions heavily impacted by the coronavirus. Be prepared and have secondary suppliers in mind. Shop local whenever possible!
3. Consider virtual meetings instead of face-to-face. Explore use of technology to stay connected with vendors, customers, and employees.
4. Plan for potential slowdown in foot traffic at restaurants, retail, and other customer facing service industries. Are there other methods of delivery for your product or service that limit face-to-face interaction while maintaining sales? Are there promotions that you can provide to increase traffic?
a. Support local businesses likely to be impacted by the decreased foot traffic by shopping local!
5. Keep customer safety and peace of mind as a top priority. Improve and communicate your cleanliness standards, enhance hygiene policies, and provide ways for customers to wash/clean their hands. See an example from Southwest Airlines here.
The top five tips for employers to prevent the spread of coronavirus (or any illness):
1. Regularly disinfect surfaces in restrooms, kitchens, break areas, and other heavily trafficked places in your business.
2. Have hand sanitizer available for your employees and for customers. The CDC recommends hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol.
3. Encourage your employees to adopt healthy habits – see the top five healthy habits below.
4. If employees are sick, ask them to stay home. Request the same of your customers.
5. Make sure employees and customers are staying informed of any updates by checking the websites at the top of this page regularly and/or subscribing to updates from these sites if possible.
And here are the top five habits you can encourage your employees to adopt to help prevent the spread of illness:
1. Wash your hand frequently – especially after blowing your nose, coughing, sneezing, using the restroom, and before eating. Be sure to use soap and water OR an alcohol-based sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
2. Avoid touching your face.
3. Cover your mouth with your elbow when you cough or sneeze. Don’t cough into your hands!
4. If you have flu-like symptoms, stay home.
5. If you do have flu-like symptoms or are around someone exhibiting these symptoms, stay at least 5-6 feet away at all times.