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COVID-19

Regulatory Roundup: The Small Business Administration Issues FAQs Regarding Covid-19 Related Tax Credits

On April 20, 2020, The Small Business Administration issued new FAQs regarding COVID-19-Related Tax Credits for Required Paid Leave Provided by Small and Midsize Businesses — sick leave and family leave.

These FAQs answer commonly asked questions such as; “What is included in “qualified family leave wages”?“, “How does an Eligible Employer determine the amounts of the qualified family leave wages it is required to pay?” and “How to Claim the Credits” among others.

The FAQs will be updated to address changes in the law or additional questions as they are raised. They may also be found on SHRM’s agency resources page.

DOL Issues More Unemployment Insurance Guidance to States (CARES Act–PEUC Program)

On April 10, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) published one of several letters providing states with operating, financial and reporting instructions for Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) and other unemployment provisions of the act. The letters may be found on SHRM’s agency resources page.

OSHA Warns Employers Against Retaliation During COVID-19 Pandemic

On April 8, 2020, The U.S Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reminded employers that it is illegal to retaliate against workers because they report unsafe and unhealthful working conditions during the coronavirus pandemic. Acts of retaliation can include terminations, demotions, denials of overtime or promotion, or reductions in pay or hours.

OSHA’s Whistleblower Protection Program webpage provides valuable resources on worker rights, including fact sheets on whistleblower protections for employees in various industries and frequently asked questions.

On April 8, 2020, The Department of Treasury released additional guidance regarding the CARES Act Paycheck Protection Program:

Note: Lenders in the categories requiring the new form should submit by emailing NFRLapplicationforPPP@sba.gov. Federally insured banks, credit unions, and farm credits should continue submitting new lender applications to DelegatedAuthority@sba.gov. For more information and updates, visit Treasury.gov/CARES and SBA.gov/PayCheckProtection.

SHRM Files Amicus in Support of ERISA Pre-Emption

On April 1, 2020, SHRM filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court of the United States in Rutledge v. Pharmaceutical Care Management Association.
At issue in Rutledge is whether an Arkansas statute that regulates the rates charged by Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs), is preempted by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA).

Relevance to SHRM:

According to SHRM’s 2019 benefits survey, 99.1% of SHRM’s U.S. members reported that their organization offers healthcare coverage. Multistate employers rely on ERISA preemption to enable them to create comprehensive benefit plans under a common design. Accordingly, SHRM’s brief calls for the Court to protect federal ERISA pre-emption as it offers employers and plan administrators the certainty of applying one uniform standard across state lines.

DHS to Temporarily Amend Certain H-2A Requirements During COVID-19 National Emergency

Under a temporary final rule issued by The Department of Homeland Security on April 15, 2020, with the support of U.S. Department of Agriculture, an H-2A petitioner with a valid temporary labor certification who is concerned that workers will be unable to enter the country due to travel restrictions can start employing certain foreign workers who are currently in H-2A status in the United States immediately after United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) receives the H-2A petition, but no earlier than the start date of employment listed on the petition. You may find the announcement here. https://www.dhs.gov/news/2020/04/15/dhs-and-usda-move-protect-american-farmers-and-ensure-continued-flow-america-s-food

Make sure to email governmentaffairs@shrm.org if you have any questions on recent regulatory action.