COVID-19 Measures Regarding Business, Employment, and Taxation

March 30, 2020

The CARES Act and Small Businesses

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”) is the largest financial assistance bill ever passed by Congress. With $2 trillion allocated for businesses, individuals, federal agencies, and state and local government, the CARES Act contains a number of provisions that affect small businesses. These include, but are not limited to,

  • Small changes to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act in regard to paid sick leave, paid FMLA and more;
  • The Paycheck Protection Program (set aside for small business loans and includes debt forgiveness if certain requirements are met);
  • Expansion of Economic Injury Disaster Loans; and,
  • Changes to taxes and tax policies intended to ease the burden on those businesses affected by COVID-19.

Read details here.

Expense Tracking

Business should be tracking every expense they are incurring as a result of COVID-19. There is no insight as to what other relief programs the government will implement, but it will be helpful for employers to have this information ready.

Do Employees of “Non-Essential” New Mexico Businesses Qualify for Emergency Paid Leave?

We have received many questions regarding whether the March 23, 2020 New Mexico Department of Health order mandating the closure of “non-essential businesses” constitutes as a “State quarantine or isolation” as defined in the federal Emergency Paid Leave Act which is effective April 1, 2020. The answer to that question is no. Under New Mexico law, an isolation or quarantine order requires a court proceeding whereby the Secretary of Health brings a case for court-mandated quarantine or isolation against an individual. This means that businesses being forced to close under the March 23 non-essential business mandate do not fall into this limited category, and employees who cannot work because their employer is a non-essential business do not qualify for paid leave under this reason. Such employees may, however, qualify under one or more of the five remaining reasons for emergency paid sick leave.

Employment Tax Credits

Notice 2020-21 provides that employment tax credits for paid qualified sick leave wages and paid qualified family leave wages required by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“the Act”) will apply to such wages and compensation paid for periods beginning on April 1, 2020 and ending on December 31, 2020, and that days beginning on April 1, 2020 and ending on December 31, 2020 will be taken into account for credits for paid qualified sick leave equivalents and paid qualified family leave equivalents for certain self-employed individuals provided by the Act.

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