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Helpful Links

An Order Temporarily Modifying Certain In-Person Notarization and Acknowledgement Requirements
Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce (Covid-19 Resource Page)
Bangor Public Health & Community Services
Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending May 23
Convention and Visitor Bureau (Resource Page)
Coronavirus Emergency Loans: Small Business Guide and Checklist
Department of Labor – Rules Governing Earned Pay Leave
FAME Partnering with SBA
Federal Emergency Loans in CARES Act
Federal Notice to Employers- Poster
Guide to the Employee Retention Tax Credit for COVID-19 Impacted Employers
Guide to SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans
Maine Department of Economic & Community Development – Covid-19 Prevention Checklists
Maine DOL.
Maine DHHS “Keep It Maine” Campaign
Maine Quarantine Guidelines FAQ 
Maine Optometric Association – Covid -19 Resource Page
OSHA – Guidance for Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19
OSHA – Guidance for specific types of businesses
OSHA – Ten Steps All Workplaces Can Take to Reduce Risk of Exposure to Coronavirus
Paycheck Protection Program FAQ
Regional Restaurant Updates
SBA – Disaster Loan Assistance
SBA – Other Coronavirus Assistance – Debt Relief
SBA – Paycheck Protection Program Information Sheet (Borrower)
SBA – Paycheck Protection Program Application Form
State of Maine Online Resource Page
Understanding the Small Business Loans Available Through the CARES Act
Unemployment information including FAQ’s
Weekly Q&A with DECD Commissioner Johnson – Register Here 
Workplace Posters


Since the coronavirus has become a pandemic, small businesses have been hit with mandatory closures and hefty safety measures to help “flatten the curve.” While this is an unprecedented time, this is certainly not a time to panic. Thanks to the stimulus package passed by the United States Congress, and the work completed by the Maine Legislature, there are many resources and options available to small businesses in Maine, including: the Paycheck Protection Program; SBA Disaster Loans; SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan Emergency Grant; SBA Express Bridge Loan Pilot Program; federal income tax filing payment deadline extension; the Employee Retention Credit; the COVID-19 Relief Interim SBA Finance Loan Program; and the COVID-19 Relief Business Direct Loan Program. Each of these programs is described below.

Paycheck Protection Program

The Paycheck Protection program is offered by the Small Business Administration and specifically designed to allow small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll. The SBA will forgive the loan if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities. This program is available through June 30, 2020.  Last week, Rudman Winchell attorney Mark K. Laverdiere, Esq. wrote an article detailing the program. To read more, please click here.

For more information, or to apply for this loan, please visit the SBA website (sba.gov).

SBA Disaster Loans

The Small Business Administration is offering another program in the form of disaster loans. This is a low-interest loan available to businesses located in a region affected by a declared disaster. As all U.S. States and territories have been declared a disaster area, businesses in Maine may apply for this loan, which may be awarded to assist with working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of COVID-19. The loan may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid due to the impact of the virus. The SBA offers loans with long-term repayments, up to 30 years, in order to allow affordable payments for the borrower.

For more information, or to apply for this loan, please visit the SBA website (sba.gov).

SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan Emergency Grant

Small businesses (fewer than 500 employees) who have applied for a Disaster Loan, as described above, are eligible for an emergency grant from the Small Business Administration up to $10,000. This advance may provide economic relief to those small businesses that are currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue, and will not have to be repaid. Once the application is submitted and deemed successful, the advanced funds will be made within days.

For more information, or to apply for this loan, please visit the SBA website (sba.gov).

SBA Express Bridge Loan Pilot Program

A small business that already has a business relationship with a Small Business Administration Express Lender may be eligible to access $25,000 quickly under the SBA Express Bridge Loan Pilot Program. This loan may be either a term loan or a loan used to bridge the gap while applying for a direct SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan. It may be used to provide economic support to help overcome a temporary loss of revenue the small business may be experiencing.

For more information, or to apply for this loan, please visit the SBA website (sba.gov).

Federal Income Tax Filing Payment Deadline Extension

Part of the stimulus package extended the deadline to file federal income taxes from April 15, 2020 to July 15, 2020. Additionally, taxpayers may defer their federal income tax payments due on April 15, 2020 to July 15, 2020, regardless of the amount owed, without penalties and interest. This applies to all taxpayers, including individuals, trusts, estates, corporations, and those who pay self-employment tax. The qualification for this deferment is automatic relief, and taxpayers need not file any additional forms or contact the IRS. If you are due a refund, the IRS is urging you to file as soon as possible.

For more information, please contact your tax professional or visit the IRS website (irs.gov).

Employee Retention Credit

To help small businesses combat COVID-19, the IRS has launched the Employee Retention Credit, which, like the Paycheck Protection Program, is designed to encourage businesses to keep their employees on the payroll. This refundable tax credit is up to 50% of up to $10,000 in wages paid by an eligible employer. To be eligible, a small business must fall into one of two categories:

  1. The employer’s business is fully or partially suspended by government order due to coronavirus during the calendar quarter; or
  2. The employer’s gross receipts are below 50% of the comparable quarter in 2019.

If a small business falls into the second category, they will no longer qualify once their gross receipts go above 80% of a comparable quarter. This is measured at the end of each calendar quarter and qualifying wages are determined based on the number of employees employed by the small business. For an employer with less than an average of 100 employees in 2019, the credit is based on wages paid to all employees, regardless of whether the employee worked or not during the calendar quarter. For employers with more than an average of 100 employees in 2019, the credit is only allowed for wages paid to employees who did not work during the calendar quarter.

Eligible employers may be immediately reimbursed for the credit by reducing required deposits of payroll taxes that have been withheld from employees’ wages by the amount of the credit. These employers will report their total qualified wages and health insurance costs for each respective quarter on their quarterly tax returns or Form 941, beginning with the second calendar quarter of 2020. If the tax deposits are insufficient to cover the credit, the employer may receive an advanced payment from the IRS by submitting Form 7200.

For more information, please contact your tax professional or visit the IRS website (irs.gov).

COVID-19 Relief Interim SBA Finance Loan Program

In Maine, the Small Business Administration is providing Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) direct loans up to $100,000. These loans have special terms for eligible borrowers who provide proof of commitment of SBA financing. This FAME loan would be used by the business owner until the SBA loan is funded. The SBA loan would then be used to pay off the loan from FAME. To be eligible for this program, the business must be Maine-based and must apply for an SBA loan (for COVID-19) and provide FAME with evidence of a commitment of funding from the SBA. The loan is available for a 90-day term and has a fixed interest rate of 2% over the Wall Street Journal Prime Rate. Additionally, the business must have assets available to secure the loan, must pledge the receipt of SBA loan funds paid directly to FAME, and the loan must be guaranteed by the principals of the business.

For more information, or to apply for this loan, please visit the FAME website (famemaine.com).

COVID-19 Relief Business Direct Loan Program

Through this program, FAME may provide Direct Loans of up to $50,000 with special terms available to Maine-based businesses that are experiencing interruption or hardship due to the coronavirus. To be eligible for this loan, the business must be a Maine-based business experiencing interruption or hardship due to COVID-19 and must demonstrate that other sources of capital have been exhausted. The loan is available for a 12-month term and has a fixed interest rate of 1% less than the Wall Street Journal Prime Rate. Additionally, the business must have assets available to secure the loan and the loan must be guaranteed by the principals of the business. FAME has set aside $5,000,000 for this program, and the loans are on a first-come, first-served basis.

For more information, or to apply for this loan, please visit the FAME website (famemaine.com).

FAME Direct Loan

If your business is not selected for a loan under this program, you may be eligible for a FAME Direct Loan in an amount up to $1,000,000. To be eligible, the business must:

  1. Be Maine-based;
  2. Exhibit reasonable ability to repay the loan; and
  3. Demonstrate that other sources of capital have been exhausted.

The loan is available for a term of a maximum five years and at a fixed interest rate of 2% over the Wall Street Journal Prime Rate. The loan must also be guaranteed by owners of at least 51% of the business borrower (except for non-profit borrowers and borrowers owned by 20 or more shareholders).

For more information, or to apply for this loan, please visit the FAME website (famemaine.com).

Eviction Moratorium

As of today, there is no eviction moratorium in place in the State of Maine. While the Maine courts are closed for eviction hearings until at least May 1, the courts are still issuing writs of possession. If you are struggling to make mortgage loan payments, please contact your mortgage lender.

The coronavirus is causing hardship for many, and you are certainly not alone in this. If you would like further information on any of the above programs, please contact Rudman Winchell’s Corporate Practice Group today. We are standing by and ready to assist you.


Additional blogs:

Guidance from DOL to Interpret FFCRA: Intermittent Leave
March 31, 2020

Guidance from DOL to Interpret FFCRA: Small Business Exemption
March 30, 2020

Telecommuting – A Necessary Option But Be Aware of Certain Legal Issues
March 27, 2020

Maine DOL Issues Draft Rules for EaMaine DOL Issues Draft Rules for Earned Paid Leave Law, Effective 1/1/21 and Seeks Commentrned Paid Leave Law, Effective 1/1/21 and Seeks Comment
March 25, 2020

DOL Guidance on Expanded FMLA for COVID-19
March 25, 2020

Covid-19 Legislation
March 24, 2020

Your Employment Questions Answered
March 20, 2020

HR 6201 Creates new FMLA Entitlement and Paid Leave for Employees
March 19, 2020

New U.S. House Legislation Related to Coronavirus
March 18, 2020

“COVID-19: What Nobody Is Talking About”
March 17, 2020


What does COVID-19 Mean for your Workplace PART V


 

What does COVID-19 Mean for your Workplace PART IV


What does COVID-19 Mean for your Workplace PART III

COVID-19 Employment Legislation Explained

Posted by Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce on Monday, March 23, 2020


What does COVID-19 Mean for your Workplace PART II


What does COVID-19 Mean for your Workplace PART I

The Maine Department of Labor has received questions from employers and workers around COVID-19, the novel coronavirus. Therefore, the Department put together the following resources.


The Maine Center for Disease Control (CDC) continues to urge all Maine residents to take precautions and follow guidelines issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (U.S. CDC).
•Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
•Avoid shaking hands as a greeting.
•Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
•Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
•Stay home when you are sick.
•Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
•Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

More information from the U.S. and Maine CDC:
•General information: cdc.gov
•Maine CDC: maine.gov

Resources for Businesses and Employees:
From U.S. CDC: cdc.gov
FAQ’s from U.S. DOL about the Fair Labor Standards Act: dol.gov
Guidance on preparing workplaces for COVID-19 by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA): osha.gov
•OSHA’s COVID-19 webpage: osha.gov

Relevant Labor Law
Maine’s Family Medical Leave laws apply to an employee that has worked for the same employer for at least 12 consecutive months. The employee would be entitled to up to 10 workweeks of job-protected unpaid Family Medical Leave in any two years unless employed at a permanent worksite with fewer than 15 employees. Employers may provide paid leave at their discretion.

Maine’s Family Sick Leave law states that if an employer provides paid leave, then the employer shall allow an employee to use the paid leave for the care of an immediate family member who is ill. This law section does not apply to the illness of the employee. This law gives the employee the right to choose what type of leave they are going to use if their employer provides multiple benefits, such as sick, vacation, or personal with limitations.

Larger businesses, such as businesses that have 50 or more employees, will fall under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act laws which provides up to 12 weeks of leave for a qualifying event. U.S. Department of Labor FAQ’s about federal FMLA: dol.gov

Maine’s Earned Paid Leave law does not go into effect until January 1, 2021. This law, when in effect, will guarantee that those employees that have accrued time will be paid for their accrued time off, up to 40 hours in one year of employment.

Work-Related Illness – If the illness is work-related, the employee and employer should consult with the Maine Workers’ Compensation Board. For more information about the Worker’s Compensation Board, visit: maine.gov

For a downloadable copy of this information please click here.

Additional Resources

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Community Mitigation Strategy https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/community-mitigation-strategy.pdf

Preventing COVID-19 Spread in Communities https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/index.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fcoronavirus%2F2019-ncov%2Fpreparing-individuals-communities.html

  • World Health Organization

Coronavirus Disease Information https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019

Mental Health Considerations https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/mental-health-considerations.pdf

  • Johns’ Hopkins Global Outbreak Dashboard

https://www.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/bda7594740fd40299423467b48e9ecf6

Additional Blogs:

“COVID-19: What Nobody Is Talking About”

What if I catch COVID-19? What if I am so sick that I can’t pay my bills or make medical decisions for myself? My family doesn’t know how to take care of me – what do I do? I am sure, if you are watching the news, you are seeing the daily reports of more … Continue reading

New U.S. House Legislation Related to Coronavirus

This is an update about the recent legislation passed by the US House of Representatives, H.R. 6201, “Families First Coronavirus Response Act” which would have several different impacts on employers.  Please note that this is just the House legislation and has not yet been acted on by the Senate, which may change these provisions. One … Continue reading

HR 6201 Creates new FMLA Entitlement and Paid Leave for Employees

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act, HR 6201, was signed into law last night by the President.  There are two components to the law.  The following is a summary of both sections of the law.  We will continue to provide updates as they become available. The Public Health Emergency ‎Leave Law This law applies to … Continue reading