Icard Merrill continues to serve our clients, both individuals and businesses, who have been affected during this challenging time. The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting Executive Orders, regulations, and laws have created a flurry of employment, financial, and business issues. We are here to help you.
We are working remotely as possible. Answers to phone calls & emails may be delayed. If you call, please leave a voicemail & we will call you back asap.
The US Dept of Labor is hosting a national online dialogue to solicit ideas about challenges as businesses reopen and how to help workplaces reopen safely. They want to hear from both employers and workers about: 1) reopening businesses, 2) commuting safely, 3) working safely, 4) accommodating members of vulnerable populations, 5) supporting America’s families, and 6) reducing regulatory burdens. You can participate, comment, and also vote on others’ ideas through May 7th.
- Disability-Related Inquiries and Medical Exams
- Confidentiality of Medical information
- Hiring and Onboarding
- Reasonable Accommodation
- Pandemic-Related Harassment Due to National Origin, Race, or Other Protected Characteristics
- Furloughs and Layoffs
- Return to Work
APRIL 1, 2020 – The U.S. Department of Labor announced new action regarding how American workers and employers will benefit from the protections and relief offered by the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act and Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act, both part of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).
The Department is promulgating regulations to implement public health emergency leave under Title I of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and emergency paid sick leave to assist working families facing public health emergencies arising out of the COVID-19 global pandemic. The leave provisions are created by a time-limited statutory authority established under the FFCRA and are set to expire on December 31, 2020. The temporary rule is effective from April 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020. > GO HERE for more details.
The Wage and Hour Division will post a recorded webinar on Friday, April 3, 2020 to provide interested parties a more in-depth description and help them learn more about the FFCRA. > VIEW THE WEBINAR
Families First Coronavirus Response Act – A summary of benefits and corresponding employer obligations
MARCH 18, 2020 – The Senate passed and President Trump signed the “Families First Coronavirus Response Act” (the “Act”). The Act contains an extension of the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) under which employees can receive paid family and medical leave, as well as paid sick time. These provisions will significantly affect businesses with less than 500 employees.
There is a posting requirement. If you would like a copy of the model notice for use by employers, contact Employment Attorney Jessica M. Farrelly. Send a request to email@example.com.
We can provide guidance on:
- Employers obligations under the Families First Coronavirus Recovery Act (FFCRA) to provide paid sick time and emergency paid family and medical leave
- Whether advanced notice needs to be provided to employees regarding reducing pay
- Re-classifying or re-structuring workforces
- Wage and hour issues
- FMLA issues
- Separation strategy and agreements
- Potential risks and/or claims arising out of all the above
If you have business clients (or family members, friends, neighbors, colleagues, etc. who run or manage a business) who have questions about how to navigate the current and quickly changing situation, please have them contact us for assistance.
MARCH 27, 2020 – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) posted a recorded webinar addressing questions arising under any of the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Laws and the COVID-19 pandemic.
The recorded webinar answers questions submitted by the public about how to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic in light of the federal employment nondiscrimination laws the EEOC enforces – including the American’s with Disabilities Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, Title VII, and GINA. The webinar supplements the COVID-19 publications already available on the EEOC’s website: “What You Should Know About the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and COVID-19” and “Pandemic Preparedness in the Workplace and the Americans with Disabilities Act“.
EEOC Chair Janet Dhillon also issued a message about unlawful national origin and race discrimination against Asian Americans in the workplace during the pandemic. The agency will continue to monitor developments and provide assistance to the public as needed.
BUSINESS & FINANCE
The CARES Act amends several provisions of the Bankruptcy Code providing short-term relief to financially distressed small businesses and individual debtors. In this video, Attorney Mark Martella explains how these changes may affect current debtors and those filing bankruptcy in the future.
What is the most difficult question facing small business owners? How do you decide whether or not to reopen? In this video, Attorney Mark Martella answers these questions, gives recommendations, and shares mistakes to avoid when trying to save your business.
Attorney Mark Martella shares three tips (plus a bonus tip!) to help you deal with your creditors if you have always paid your bills on time and now you can’t because of the repercussions of COVID-19.
> GO HERE to read the article
Should I use my retirement account to pay the bills?
The CARES Act offers the option of tapping into your retirement account to help pay the bills. In this video, Attorney Mark Martella shares how to know if it’s a smart move for you.
I can’t make my car or credit card payments! What should I do?
In this video, Attorney Mark Martella shares some tips and tools regarding what you need to do during this COVID-19 crisis if you can’t make your credit card or car payments. It starts with communicating with your creditors.
Options for Tenants & Landlords in a COVID-19 World
The rent is due and this is a tense and anxious time for both tenants and landlords. In this video, Attorney Mark Martella provides recommendations for both parties on how to get through this crisis by working together.
Government Stimulus Payments FAQ
Attorney Mark Martella addresses the frequently asked questions concerning the stimulus payments, including who is eligible and if you have to pay taxes on it.
CARES Act – Mortgage & Foreclosure Relief
Congress passed the CARES Act which will provide mortgage payment relief and foreclosure relief to those who have federally backed mortgages. Attorney Mark Martella gives the details.
Missed Chapter 13 Payment
What happens if you can’t make your Chapter 13 payment to the trustee? Don’t panic! Attorney Mark Martella explains your options.
Five Options if You Can’t Pay Your Mortgage
What happens if you can’t make your mortgage payment. In this video, Attorney Mark Martella shares some good news on 90-day deferrals as well as four other options to save your home.
Pros & Cons of Florida Small Business Bridge Loans
The State of Florida announced it is offering interest-free bridge loans for small businesses who have experienced economic damage as a result of COVID-19. Attorney Mark Martella explains the pros and cons of taking out one of these loans.
Buyer Wants Out – What Now?!
Buyers are getting the jitters. If you are selling your home, what can you do if the buyer backs out? Attorney Mark Martella talks about this issue in relation to the world we are living in today.
Please visit the pages below for extensive COVID-19 tools and resources:
- Sarasota County Government – text SRQCOVID19 to 888777 for text updates
- Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce
- VIDEO: National Small Business Town Hall – Held March 27 by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Several experts spoke about important aspects of the CARES Act and answered questions from concerned small business owners.
- Coronavirus Federal Small Business Stimulus Aid Programs
- U.S. Chamber’s New Small Business Loan Guide & Checklist
- EDC Sarasota County
- Manatee Chamber of Commerce
- Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance
- Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
- World Health Organization
- Florida Department of Health COVID-19 Webpage
- Florida COVID-19 Case Dashboard
- Business Damage Assessment
- Small Business Administration – Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program
- TAX ALERT: IRS Extends Individual Tax Filing Deadline to July 15, 2020
- Jobs & Employment