National Resources & Guidance | CARES Act: SBA Loans & Unemployment Benefits Info | ACA Advocacy & Messaging
This page was last updated on February 22, 2021 at 11:00 am (EST)
This page includes resources and links to external information and guidance from federal agencies related to COVID-19 impacts on business operations. Topics covered include CDC & OSHA guidance; Small Business Administration Loans & IRS information; Department of Labor & EEOC guidance; and EPA & DOT guidance.
In addition to these resources, the page highlights ACA’s interpretive guidance and messaging that the Coatings Industry is an ESSENTIAL participant in the COVID-19 response.
NOTE: Where links are provided to the specific state order and any guidance issued thereto, members should look to the specific language of the order when deciding whether their business may continue with manufacturing, distribution, research or retail operations.
Click on the following headings to navigate to these sections of this resource page.
CDC Categories of Essential Workers: This links to CDC’s mapping of List of Categories of Essential Workers Mapped to Standardized Industry Codes and Titles) to CDC’s recommendations for vaccines distribution. On Dec. 22, 2020, the CDC recommended that in Phase 1b and Phase 1c, which may overlap, vaccination should be offered to Essential Workers.
National Governors Association (NGA) Coronavirus Resource Page: The NGA Coronavirus Resource Page offers a comprehensive overview of all state emergency orders issued and is updated frequently.
Coronavirus Construction Limits Tracker by State: This dashboard tracks how states with a stay-at-home mandate classify Construction and Building Material Suppliers.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- CDC Categories of Essential Workers: This links to CDC’s mapping of List of Categories of Essential Workers Mapped to Standardized Industry Codes and Titles) to CDC’s recommendations for vaccines distribution. On Dec. 22, 2020, the CDC recommended that in Phase 1b and Phase 1c, which may overlap, vaccination should be offered to Essential Workers.
- CDC Notice: Importance of COVID-19 Vaccination for Essential Workers
- Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to COVID-19
- Question & Answer on Manufacturing Facility Protocols
- Interim Guidance for Implementing Safety Practices for Critical Infrastructure Workers Who May Have Had Exposure to a Person with Suspected or Confirmed COVID-19
- Do’s and Don’ts for Employers and Employees Related to COVID-19 Exposures
Department of Homeland Security
- Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce
- COVID-19 Recovery CISA Tabletop Exercise Package (CTEP)
- FEMA’s Best Practices for Personal Protective Equipment Preservation
- FEMA Fact Sheet Addressing PPE Needs in Non-Healthcare Settings
- FEMA COVID-19 Fact Sheets & Guidance Documents
- FEMA Coronavirus Rumor Control
Department of Labor Paid Leave Guidance
Occupational Safety and Health Administration
- Protecting Workers: Guidance on Mitigating and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in the Workplace Issued by OSHA Jan. 29, 2021
- CDC and OSHA Joint Guidance for COVID-19 Protective Measures in Manufacturing Industry (Manufacturing Workers and Employers – Interim Guidance from CDC and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration – May 12, 2020): CDC and OSHA joint manufacturing-specific guidance detailing the steps companies must take to protect their workforce.
- ACA Webinar Recording: Workplace Safety — COVID Duties, Planning and Response: Replay this May 14 webinar led by Jonathan L. Snare, Esq. Morgan Lewis & Bockius, and Bob Adams, CIH, CSP, FAIHA, Principal at Ramboll. The webinar covers current best practices and legal obligations with respect to OSHA and CDC Guidance; personal protective equipment (PPE); cleaning & disinfecting; changes to the workplace; employee screening & testing; and employer training & communications.
- OSHA COVID-19 Website
- OSHA’s Revised Enforcement Guidance for Recording Cases of Coronavirus Disease (effective May 19, 2020)
- OSHA’s Updated Interim Enforcement Response Plan for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) (effective May 19, 2020)
- OSHA Guidance to Employers on Preparing Workplaces for COVID 19
- Worker Exposure Risk to COVID-19
- Worker Protections and Health Related Complaints
- Enforcement Guidance Related to Respiratory Protection
- OSHA Standards Related to COVID-19, including Form 300 Reporting of COVID-19 Cases
- Discretion in Enforcement when Considering an Employer’s Good Faith Efforts During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Pandemic
- Lessons Learned: Frequently Cited Standards Related to COVID-19 Inspections (published Nov. 6, 2020)
- Common COVID-19 Citations: Helping Employers Better Protect Workers and Comply with OSHA Regulations (published Nov. 6, 2020)
- OSHA COVID-19 Related Daily Enforcement Data
- OSHA COVID-19 Related Whistleblower Data
- Temporary Enforcement Guidance Regarding Tight-Fitting Powered Air Purifying Respirators (published October 2, 2020)
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which is responsible for enforcing federal workplace anti-discrimination laws, has issued updated guidance that addresses practical return-to-work COVID related issues that employers and employees will face during this transition, including medical examinations, confidentiality of medical information and reasonable accommodations. Specifically, EEOC’s guidance allows employers to follow the current guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and/or state and local regulations relating to COVID-19.
Inquiries and Medical Examinations: ADA-covered employers may ask employees if they are experiencing symptoms related to COVID-19, are permitted to measure the body temperature of employees entering the workplace, as well as, implement mandatory COVID-19 testing of employees prior to returning to work. (Employee medical information must remain confidential and be stored separately from personnel records.) More information is available through the following links:
Environmental Protection Agency
EPA Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting Spaces Where Americans Live, Work, and Play: EPA and CDC have updated guidance to properly clean and disinfect spaces.
- Read the Guidance
- Read News Release
- EPA List of Disinfectants for use Against Coronavirus (COVID-19)
- PHMSA Notice Highlighting Existing Options Related to HazMat Shipping Papers and Social Distancing
- PHMSA COVID-19 FAQs
- Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Coronavirus Information & Resources
Internal Revenue Service (IRS): https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus
- Employee Retention Tax Credit: The CARES Act provides a refundable payroll tax credit. The employee retention credit is available to eligible employers that retain employees, despite experiencing economic hardship related to the COVID-19 crisis. “Eligible employer” is an entity whose operation (1) is fully or partially suspended in response to governmental orders limiting commerce, travel or group meetings or (2) has experienced a significant decline in gross receipts, defined as a decline of 50% or more in quarterly receipts when compared to the prior year quarter, including tax-exempt organizations. The retention credit is determined by taking 50 percent of the “qualified wages” from each employee during the eligible period (March 12, 2020 to January 1, 2021). The maximum amount of qualified wages that can be used for the credit is $10,000 – meaning the credit cannot exceed $5,000 per employee. Note, the credit is not available to employers receiving loans under the Paycheck Protection Program. Further guidance may be found here.
- Payroll Tax Deferral: This deferral also available under the CARES Act allowing employers to defer their share of the 6.2% Social Security tax that would otherwise be due for the period from March 27, 2020 through December 31, 2020. Fifty percent of the deferred amount must be paid by December 31, 2021, and the remainder must be paid by December 31, 2022. Any employer that has to pay an employer’s share of the 6.2% Social Security tax is eligible. However, an employer cannot defer payment of these 2020 payroll taxes if the employer also receives an SBA loan under the new Paycheck Protection Program that is later forgiven in full or in part. The deferral does not apply to federal income tax withholding, the Medicare tax, or the employees’ portion of Social Security tax.
- Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA): Refundable tax credits under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (the “FFCRA”) for employers with fewer than 500 employees. Credits reimburse employers the cost of paid sick and family leave wages for employee leave related to COVID-19. The refundable tax credits apply to qualified sick leave and family leave wages paid during the period beginning April 1, 2020, and ending December 31, 2020.
- Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA): the Consolidated Appropriations Act (CAA), 2021, allows FFCRA-covered employers to voluntarily extend paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave to employees until March 31, 2021. These eligible businesses (private businesses and non-profits with fewer than 500 employees) that elect to do so, will continue receiving tax credits through March 31, 2021.
Additional guidance on both the Employee Retention Tax Credit and Payroll Tax Deferral may be found here.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) has two loan programs that may be of particular interest to ACA member: the SBA 7(a) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program. The PPP is designed to aid eligible small businesses with payroll and other eligible costs. The PPP offers loans that are up to 100% forgivable for borrowers that maintain employee headcount and wage levels and use loan proceeds primarily for payroll. The EIDL program presents an option for eligible small businesses to obtain longer-term loans with favorable borrowing terms. The EIDL program also offers limited advances to eligible businesses that do not need to be repaid.
Both the PPP and EIDL loan programs have undergone many significant changes over the course of the COVID-19 crisis. Further details on these loan programs are provided in ACA’s Memorandum – Small Business Administration Loans Under CARES Act.
For additional information about these loan programs, please refer to the following webpages:
- Small Business Administration PPP Webpage
- U.S. Treasury Department PPP Webpage
- Small Business Administration EIDL Webpage
ACA also intends to update this webpage regularly to reflect significant developments affecting these programs.
UPDATE (2/22/21): The Treasury Department announced that, beginning February 24, 2021, it will institute a two-week freeze on accepting PPP applications from applicants with more than 20 employees. The move is designed to drive remaining PPP funding to very small businesses. The PPP is currently set to expire on March 31, 2021, and it is unclear whether the program will be extended beyond that date.
UPDATE (1/29/21): The SBA recently issued several guidance documents addressing the following issues: (i) a document explaining how second-time PPP borrowers should calculate revenue reduction and maximum loan amounts; (ii) a document explaining the calculation processes and documentation requirements for first-time PPP borrowers; (iii) a document explaining the processes and requirements for resubmitting loan forgiveness applications; and (iv) a document explaining the procedures a PPP borrowers should follow if its lender made an application error that resulted in the borrower receiving a loan amount greater than the maximum amount the borrower was entitled to receive by law.
UPDATE (10/12/20): On October 8, 2020, the SBA issued a new Interim Final Rule that greatly simplifies the rules and process by which PPP borrowers can receive forgiveness for loans of $50,000 or less. Such borrowers may be eligible for a streamlined “check the box” process for receiving full loan forgiveness.
UPDATE (10/7/20): On October 3, 2020, the SBA issued new procedural guidance to clarify the required procedures for changes of ownership of PPP borrowers.
UPDATE (9/8/20): On August 24, 2020, the SBA issued an Interim Final Rule relating to PPP loan forgiveness eligibility of owner-employee compensation and of certain rental payments and lease arrangements. On August 25, 2020, the SBA issued another Interim Final Rule, which establishes an administrative process for appealing certain SBA determinations of borrower ineligibility for PPP loan forgiveness.
UPDATE (8/13/20): On August 4, 2020, the SBA issued a PPP Loan Forgiveness FAQ, which it updated on August 11 to add three additional questions relevant to borrowers who received funds from both the PPP and the EIDL program. Also on August 11, the SBA expanded its prior PPP FAQ to add two additional questions relating to the treatment of agent fees and vision/dental benefits under the PPP. It also issued a new interim final rule on August 11 that establishes new procedures for borrowers to appeal a determination of ineligibility for PPP loan forgiveness.
UPDATE (8/5/20): On August 4, 2020, the SBA issued a new FAQ document on various loan forgiveness issues. The document is available here.
UPDATE (6/24/20): On June 10, 2020, the SBA issued revisions to its First Interim Final Rule relating to the PPP loan program, which are available here. The revisions largely update the SBA’s previous rules to incorporate changes made by the PPP Flexibility Act, but the revisions also include a significant interpretation that loosens loan forgiveness eligibility for those borrowers who use less than 60% of total loan proceeds for payroll costs. The SBA issued a new interim final rule on June 22, 2020 (available here), which primarily incorporates previously disclosed guidance but also provides new clarification on the rules applicable to early submission of loan forgiveness applications.
UPDATE (6/24/20): On June 15, 2020, the SBA withdrew the limits that had temporarily restricted EIDL loan and grant eligibility to only agricultural businesses. Eligible small businesses may once again apply for an EIDL loan and grant here. For the most up-to-date information on EIDL eligibility information, visit the SBA’s EIDL website here.
UPDATE (6/10/20): The Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020 was enacted on June 5, 2020. The law notably provides greater flexibility for PPP loan recipients with regard to loan maturity and forgiveness eligibility. For a more detailed analysis of the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020, please see this article.
UPDATE (5/26/20): On May 15, 2020, the SBA released its PPP loan forgiveness application (available here), which includes new guidance on loan forgiveness eligibility. For a discussion of the application and the accompanying guidance, see this article. On May 23, the SBA issued two interim final rules: a rule that addresses loan forgiveness and a second rule that addresses loan review procedures and borrower responsibilities.
UPDATE (4/28/20): The SBA has issued additional guidance that may narrow PPP eligibility for some applicants, especially public companies and companies that have access to other sources of liquidity. See question 31 in this document. For commentary on borrower considerations in light of the new PPP guidance, see this article.
As a complement to initiatives being offered by the Small Business Administration, the Federal Reserve has created the Main Street Lending program to facilitate lending to small and mid-size businesses. The program is designed to provide loans of between $100,000 and $300 million to eligible U.S. companies with up to 15,000 employees and $5 billion in revenue. Loans through this program will be available through participating commercial banking institutions. More information on this program at the Federal Reserve’s website.
Unemployment Benefits Under CARES Act
Pursuant to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, three unemployment assistance and insurance (UI) programs are being made available to eligible individuals: Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (PUC), Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA).
Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (PUC): From March 27, 2020 to July 31, 2020, all regular UI (including those who are receiving a partial unemployment benefit check) and PUA claimants will receive $600 per week in addition to their regular calculated benefit.
Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC): An additional 13-weeks of state UI benefits are provided once a claimant has exhausted all of their regular state UI benefits. PEUC prohibits states from taking any action to decrease the maximum number of weeks of UI benefits or the weekly benefits that are available as of January 1, 2020.
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA): Up to 39 weeks of emergency unemployment assistance is available to workers who are otherwise ineligible for state UI benefits or have exhausted their state UI benefits. Workers who are eligible for PUA typically include self-employed workers, independent contractors, freelancers, workers seeking part-time work, and workers who do not have enough work history to qualify for state UI benefits. The PUA program will expire on December 31, 2020, unless otherwise extended.
Applicants for PUA will need to self-certify that they are able to work and available for work, and that they are unemployed, partially employed, or unable or unavailable to work due to a COVID-19-related circumstance. PUA claimants are eligible to receive both PUC in addition to PUA.
Additional information pertaining to unemployment benefits under the CARES Act can be found at the following links:
The Continued Assistance for Unemployed Workers Act of 2020 (CAUWA) extends and expands the unemployment programs under the CARES Act.
CARES Act Unemployment Programs under the CAUWA
- Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (PUC): The CAUWA extends the PUC, however it reduces the supplemental weekly benefit by half. As a result, individuals who are unemployed and receiving any unemployment benefits will now be entitled to an additional $300 in benefits for each week of unemployment between December 26, 2020 and March 14, 2021.
- Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC): The CAUWA extends the additional unemployment benefits by 11 more weeks. With the newest extension, eligible recipients in many states can now receive up to 50 weeks of benefits between state programs and PEUC. These extended benefits are also available through March 14, 2021. After March 14, 2021, new PEUC claimants will not be eligible for the extra weeks of benefits.
- Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA): The CAUWA extends PUA benefits until March 14, 2021. After March 14, 2021, new claimants will no longer be allowed to apply for PUA benefit. However, eligible individuals who were receiving PUA benefits as of that date will continue to receive benefits until April 5, 2021.
- Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation (MEUC): The MEUC benefit will provide an additional $100 a week in unemployment benefits to those eligible workers who earn their income as a W-2 wage earner and self-employed individual. In order to receive the additional $100 per week, an eligible worker must have earned at least $5,000 in self-employment income in the most recent tax year. However, the MEUC benefit is optional and subject to each state’s discretion whether to enroll in this program.
UPDATED ACA Interpretation Guide for CISA’s Identification of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers Version 2.0 (March 28, 2020): This guide is intended to assist members in applying the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Administration (CISA) Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce to your business. CISA’s Guidance was updated on March 28, 2020 and ACA’s guide incorporates CISA’s recent changes.
ACA Webinar Recording: PPP Program Update and Forgeiveness Issues: This hour-long webinar held Aug. 5, led by the PPP team lead at Cozen O’Connor law firm, reviewed changes to the PPP program revolving around eligibility, funding, loan amounts, use of proceeds, and loan forgiveness.
ACA Webinar Recording: Employee Benefits in the Time of COVID-19: This hour-long webinar held May 21 reviewed legislative changes, regulatory guidance, and practical considerations related to employee benefits during the COVID-19 crisis. Presenters from Venable law firm addressed retirement and health benefits.
ACA Webinar Recording: Workplace Safety — COVID Duties, Planning and Response
This hour-long May 14 webinar was led by Jonathan L. Snare, Esq. Morgan Lewis & Bockius, and Bob Adams, CIH, CSP, FAIHA, Principal at Ramboll. The webinar covers current best practices and legal obligations with respect to OSHA and CDC Guidance; personal protective equipment (PPE); cleaning & disinfecting; changes to the workplace; employee screening & testing; and employer training & communications.
ACA Webinar Recording: Interpreting CISA Guidance for Identification of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers & Compliance with State Emergency Orders
This hour-long webinar held April 3, includes a Q&A CISA Assistant Director Brian Harrell, in which he addresses ACA-member submitted questions. It also covers recommendations and best practices for compliance with CISA and other state orders.
ACA Webinar Recording: Business Interruptions and Coronavirus – Force Majeure and Other Contract and Insurance Considerations
This hour-long webinar held April 10 was led by Cozen O’Connor counsel and addressed the coronavirus business impact disruptions from a contractual perspective.
ACA Webinar Recording: CARES Act Loan Programs and Tax Relief
This hour-long webinar held April 16 was led by Cozen O’Connor counsel and addressed the Paycheck Protection Program, Employee Retention Tax Credit, and the Payroll Tax Deferral.
Coatings Are Essential Business Fact Sheet: This fact sheet communicates the urgent message that the coatings industry is essential to numerous other industries, including those on the frontline of the coronavirus response. The industry supports health care, hospitals, defense, food, hygiene, agriculture, energy, public works, and information technology systems, as well as others. Industry needs to be able to operate to participate in the COVID-19 response.
The coatings industry is prepared to do its part for families, industry and the nation during this time to stop the spread of the coronavirus infection. Read its letters to Governors and the White House.
Multi Industry Letter Supporting DHS CISA Critical Infrastructure: ACA joined with more than 100 organizations to support a consistent definition of “critical infrastructure” across the country.
Coalition Letter to DOT on Critical Infrastructure: ACA and a coalition of interested parties underscored to DOT the need for uniformity in Essential Business Designations.
ACA Legal Bulletin: Antitrust Considerations During Coronavirus Pandemic
The FTC and DOJ have warned businesses against exploiting the current pandemic to engage in anticompetitive conduct. In particular, the agencies warned against agreements to restrain competition through increased prices, lower wages, decreased output, or reduced quality. Tips for businesses to avoid antitrust risks while engaged in collaborative pandemic response activities are included in this ACA Legal Bulletin.