Today's Three Things to Know (April 7th, 2020): SC Chamber Webinar Series, SC Department of Employment and Workforce Updated Guidance, PPP Resources


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April 7, 2020

Today’s COVID-19 business information compiled by your SC Chamber Team includes: SC Chamber Webinar SeriesSC Department of Employment and Workforce Updated GuidancePPP Resources

1. SC Chamber Webinar Series: New Offerings This Week

This week, the SC Chamber and our partners will co-host a webinar and a call to help members navigate the impacts of COVID-19 and the ever-changing business environment.

  • Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act Tax Credit Webinar
    • Date: Thursday, April 9th, 2:00 PM ET
    • Presenter: Ray Beeman, Principal and Co-leader, Washington Council Ernst and Young, LLP
    • Topic: Federal tax policy update regarding COVID-19 changes
    • Registration: You must register in advance for this webinar using this link
  • SC Hospital Association Call
    • Date: Friday, April 10th, 11:00 AM ET
    • Presenter: South Carolina Hospital Association (SCHA), Terri Rebmann, PhD, RN, CIC, FAPIC, Associate Dean for Academic & Faculty Affairs, Director of the Institute for Biosecurity, and Professor in the Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics at Saint Louis University.
    • Topic: “Lower the Risks: Keeping Your Workforce and Work Environment Safe from COVID-19”
    • Registration Details 

2. Answering Your Questions about Unemployment Insurance Benefits

SCDEW information: In recent days, we have received many questions about the process of filing unemployment claims with the SC Department of Employment and Workforce (SCDEW). The agency recently posted a Q&A on social media, which we are sharing here to help employers understand the process and answer questions from employees.

  • Who do I list as an employer if I’m self-employed, 1099, gig employee, etc.?
    • Use the name you provide when filing with the IRS.
  • How do I answer the “Able and Available” question?
    • Ask yourself: Removing COVID-19 from the equation, would I be able and available to go back to the job I had before or accept a new job offer?
      • If yes, answer “YES.”
      • If no, answer “NO.”
  • Why is it asking if I have completed a job search since they waived weekly job search for COVID-19 related claims?
    • Our system provides this question for claimants who started receiving UI benefits before COVID-19. However, with the changes in state and federal law to assist during COVID-19, you can answer the question honestly. Answer “yes” if you have searched for work. However, if you answer “no,” you will not be penalized for not completing a job search.
  • What is my return to work date if I don’t know?
    • Use your best guess. This date can be changed later.

       *NOTE: If you have lost your job, through no fault of your own, due to COVID19, please use COVID-19 as the reason for the layoff.*

USDOL Update on PUA: This weekend, SCDEW and other state unemployment agencies received guidance from USDOL on the implementation of the new Pandemic Unemployment Assistant (PUA) program. The PUA, part of the CARES Act, expands unemployment insurance eligibility, and adds federal dollars ($600) to the maximum amount paid by states. To handle the increase that has come with the expanded eligibility, DEW is reviewing this guidance. This review will determine their need for system upgrades. They have not yet received the federal funds for the additional $600 allocation.

For an explanation of PUA, see US Senator Tim Scott’s video clip providing detailed answers in our call with members last Friday.

3. Latest Updates on the Paycheck Protection Program

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) went into effect last Friday, April 3rd, but many small businesses continue to have questions, while federal agencies and banks work to resolve concerns.

  • To Recap: PPP was passed as part of the CARES Act, and authorizes up to $349 billion in forgivable loans for job retention and certain other expenses for businesses employing less than 500 people.
  • In SC: According to the SC Bankers Association, approximately 70 banks are participating in PPP.
  • Federal Reserve Action: The Federal Reserve announced Monday plans to buy up loans that banks make under PPP to incentivize more banks to participate in the lending program. This action removes the government-backed loans from the banks’ balance sheets once they are processed, freeing up the lending institutions to assist more small businesses. 
  • Treasury Publishes PPP FAQ’s: In response to the many questions about the program, yesterday the US Department of the Treasury (Treasury) published a Frequently Asked Questions sheet that may be helpful to our members. Make sure to visit Treasury’s small business page for information sheets, application forms, and rules.
  • Possibility of Additional Funds: Due to the surge of PPP applications after only a few days of initial implementation, there are reports that Congress may consider allocating additional funds (potentially another $200 to $250 billion) to the PPP in the coming days. The SBA estimates that, without other funds, the $349 billion may be used up by the end of next week at the current rate of approved applications.