Resources for Employers During the Coronavirus Pandemic
On March 15, 2020, Ohio Governor DeWine announced several measures to assist employers affected by the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, including easing unemployment compensation benefit restrictions, a liquor buy-back program for restaurants and bars (and temporary, event permit holders), and access to small business loans to address economic injuries due to the coronavirus pandemic.
First, the changes to unemployment compensation are as follows:
• Unemployed workers will include individuals requested by a medical professional, local health authority, or employer to be isolated or quarantined because of COVID-19 even if not actually diagnosed with COV-19.
• The work search requirements shall be waived for such individuals, as will the one-week unemployment waiting period if the individuals have no paid time off available.
• For contributory employers, charges during Ohio’s emergency declaration period will be mutualized.
• Reimbursing employers will follow existing charging requirements under Ohio Revised Code Chapter 4141.
• The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services will waive penalties for late reporting and payments during Ohio’s emergency declaration period.
• Employers must distribute this form to employees laid off because of the COVID-19 pandemic to expedite their claim process: http://www.odjfs.state.oh.us/forms/num/JFS00671/pdf/.
The other emergency relief measures include:
• Permitting bar and restaurant owners to return unopened high-proof liquor purchased within the past month to state agency stores. As of March 16, 2020, the buy-back program will run through April 6, 2020, but could be extended.
• Offering small businesses and nonprofit organizations support and access to the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) economic injury disaster loan program, through the Ohio Development Services Agency. This will enable affected organizations to apply for low-interest loans of up to $2 million to overcome the temporary loss of revenue caused by this health emergency. These funds can be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills. These loans may have up to 30-year terms. On March 18, 2020, the governor submitted a formal request to the SBA for this assistance. Once the state is qualified for the program, the Ohio Development Services Agency will work with the SBA to notify entities that the they can now apply for loans. (For more information, visit sba.gov/disaster, call SBA at 1-800-659-2955 or contact the State.
Wegman Hessler specializes in business law for business leaders, applying legal discipline to solve business problems to help business owners run smarter. For more than 50 years, this Cleveland business law firm provides full-service strategic legal counsel for closely held businesses. Learn more at www.wegmanlaw.com.