The following resources can help answer questions about home and workplace health and safety, state and national COVID-19 response, and unemployment benefits for those whose work is impacted by the virus.
Restore Illinois Plan
On May 5, 2020, Governor Pritzker’s office released its five-phase public health approach to reopening the state. Each phase will include the resumption of certain business, educational, health care, and social activities. The plan establishes specific criteria that must be met as we move along the path toward a full reopening of Illinois’ economy. The plan is available for download here.
The Federal Government has created or enhanced a number of programs designed to keep businesses operating and employees working by providing immediate economic relief to businesses struggling with the financial fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Two of these programs are the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program, administered by the Small Business Administration (SBA). Both are low-interest loan programs designed to help small businesses (i.e., under 500 employees) meet payroll, rent, and other expenses in these difficult times. Another, the Employer Retention Credit, provides immediate financial relief in the form of a refundable tax credit against employment taxes.
Paycheck Protection Program Resources
Established under the CARES Act, the Paycheck Protection Program may be a good option for businesses struggling to retain employees during the COVID-19 crisis, as it provides these businesses with funds to pay up to eight weeks of payroll costs, including some benefits. These no-collateral, non-recourse loans are guaranteed 100% by the SBA. Moreover, provided that the business retains or rehires its employees, the loan may be up to 100% forgivable.
Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program Resources
The Economic Injury Disaster Loan program is designed to help businesses that have sustained economic injury due to a declared disaster. The EIDL program can provide up to $2 million in low-interest loan assistance to help these businesses meet financial obligations that otherwise could have been met had the disaster not occurred.
Employee Retention Credit Resources
On March 31, the Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service jointly launched the Employee Retention Credit. This program provides employers severely impacted by the COVID-19 crisis with a refundable tax credit against certain employment taxes equal to 50% of qualifying wages paid to employees between March 13, 2020 and December 31, 2020. Employers can access the credit immediately by reducing the amount of employment tax deposits they are required to make and may request an advance payment from the IRS to cover any credit amount over and above the amount of their tax deposits.
Additional CARES Act Resources for Businesses
The CARES Act includes additional programs and initiatives to help businesses with immediate needs arising from the COVID-19 crisis. For help in understanding and assessing your options, please see the newly published Small Business Owner’s Guide to the CARES Act from the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship.
The TCDF continues to use its collective voice and political influence to help secure protections for workers and financial relief for contractors struggling with the COVID-19 crisis. As the extent of the virus’ impact became clear, the TCDF opened communications with Governor Pritzker, members of Illinois’ congressional delegation, and members of the Illinois General Assembly. These ongoing communications have focused on four areas in which state and federal resources must be directed toward assistance for construction trades workers and contractors. These include
The TCDF will continue in its efforts to ensure that the voices of construction trades workers and contractors are heard and that their priorities are incorporated into state and federal relief programs and policies. Among these efforts is advocacy for new legislation that prevents employers’ “experience rating” (the determinant used by the Illinois Department of Employment Security for setting an employer’s unemployment insurance costs) from being negatively impacted as a result of COVID-19 layoffs or furloughs.