The 880-page CARES Act requires ongoing, focused effort to reduce the complexity to useful information. Just like filing taxes, some are doing it themselves, some have hired the least expensive option, some have found professionals or teams that get the best results, and some are stuck in the process. CEOs and execs shouldn’t take this responsibility lightly, without careful thought, or overlook it just because you’re in great financial shape today. Consider how you will investigate and implement your options, through a team of professionals (internal or external), an internal champion, or a hired outsider.
There are some businesses that have benefited from the latest crisis. Companies that offer internet access, streaming services, remote worker access, and more have seen a surge of business during this time. Their leaders may be too focused on handling all the business that they can manage, but don’t be that leader. There is no way to know the total impact that this crisis has had on your employee’s family. It’s wrong for you to assume that the “job security” or little bit of overtime pay you offer (due to a spike in your business), will ever offset the challenges facing other family members who may have been laid off or deemed non-essential.
Like trying to win a grant, give the CARES Act a long, sustained effort in order to gain the most. It’s a smart business decision and shows that you care for coronavirus relief when you appoint a full-time champion, team, or hired expert to get all the details (and when appropriate, apply them) to any program for which you are eligible. Additionally, give all employees a list of relief that may be available for them personally along with contact information. This will be helpful for hurting family members, and they can pass it on to neighbors and friends in need, too.
This is a time for any leader with expanding or contracting business to show that they care about coronavirus relief by properly investigating the CARES Act. Look for facts, phone numbers, websites, and email addresses to arm your workers while also protecting your business. Count on confusion and conflicting information being disseminated, and help your team and their family navigate the murky waters of relief.
A taste of what some have found on this journey.
Companies have found:
- Tax relief (including delays on employer match social security payments until Jan 21, 2021
- Mid-sized companies – loans capped at 2% for companies with 500-10,000 employees (no principal or interest due for 6+ months)
- Small companies (up to 500 employees) are eligible for low interest loans (Paycheck Protection Programs) up to $10m
- A $10,000 SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan may get you cash fast—provides forgiveness for eight weeks of cash flow, rent, and utilities at 100% up to 2.5x average monthly payroll
Many companies without a champion are now struggling to answer government questions, follow up on loan options, and more. A person involved in the entire process will more quickly and easily get answers and solve these challenges.
Individuals have found:
- A one-time tax rebate check, which includes $1,200 per individual, $2,400 per couple and $500 per eligible child with reduced rates for higher-income earners above $75,000
- Expanded unemployment insurance to cover gig workers, self-employed workers, and non-profit employees
- Increased Medicare reimbursement rate and access to testing
- Unemployment insurance provisions that include an additional $600 per week payment to each recipient for up to four months
- Extended UI benefits to self-employed workers, independent contractors, and those with limited work history
Here’s a link to the non-partisan Tax Foundation for an overview of the 880 page CARES Act, and you can gain additional ideas here. Don’t take this responsibility lightly, give it careful thought, and consider how you will investigate and implement your options. Don’t forget to be thankful as you reduce this complex document into how you care for coronavirus relief. Remember that this is an investment in your leadership, culture, team members, and your company. Finally, take care of your top two priorities—your employees and your cash—as communities begin to open up for business.
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Photo Credit: iStock by Getty Images
Photo Credit: iStock by Getty Images