Federally Backed Emergency Lending is Available to Protect Employers and Employees in the Wake of the Corona Virus and COVID-19 Pandemic
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act known as the CARES Act has been signed into law, including its Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Under the program small businesses may be eligible for stimulus financial aid that could help protect jobs and reduce the flood of bankruptcy filings as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Certain PPP loans under the CARES Act will be “forgivable” (meaning that they will not need to be repaid). But it’s critical to look closely at the terms of program since not all loans may not be eligible for forgiveness.
The Paycheck Protection Program is part of the Keeping American Workers Paid and Employed Act. Under the program, if your company has fewer than 500 employees, it may be eligible to receive stimulus funds equal to 2.5 times your average monthly payroll up to $10 million, as a result of business interruption from COVID-19. Although in the form of an unsecured, no-fee loan, loan forgiveness may be available if your company uses the loan proceeds to fund certain eligible expenses, including payroll, mortgage obligations, rent, utilities; and your company maintains its payroll during the crisis period or restores their payrolls afterward, as required by the law.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Regarding the CARES Act and the Payment Protection Program Stimulus
The PPP extends only to loans during the period of February 15, 2020 through June 30, 2020, that are made pursuant to the Paycheck Protection Program. Importantly, Congress amended the existing Small Business Act to provide the mechanism for issuance of PPP loans. 15 U.S.C. § 636(a)(36)
All lenders authorized to issue SBA loans under the Small Business Act also should be empowered to issue PPP stimulus loans. In the new authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury and the Administrator of the SBA to extend lending authorization to non-SBA lenders if they find that those lenders are sufficiently qualified.
Yes, in most cases the amount of any PPP loan will be limited to a maximum loan amount equal to two and a half times the company’s 2019 average annual payroll cost, or $10 million.
Companies that were not in business in 2019 may calculate their average payroll costs by reference to the payroll expense incurred from January 1, 2020 through February 29, 2020. As with most other companies, the maximum amount of a stimulus loan under the Paycheck Protection Program is limited to an amount equal to two and a half times the company’s average annual payroll cost, or $10 million.
Prospective borrowers under the Paycheck Protection Program should be prepared with the following information:
(i) compensation, including salary, wage, and commissions;
(ii) payment of state or local tax assessed on employee compensation;
(iii) payment of cash tips, or the equivalent;
(iv) payments for leave, including vacation, parental, family, medical or sick;
(v) allowance for dismissal, termination or similar separation;
(vi) payment of health care or medical insurance premiums; and
(vii) payments for retirement benefits.
Prospective borrowers of a PPP loan must represent, among other things, that:
(i) the current economic uncertainty has made the loan request necessary;
(ii) they understand the limitation on the use of PPP loan proceeds for use to maintain payroll and certain other items such as rent, mortgage interest and utilities; and
(iii) they have no other loans or pending applications for loans for the same purpose.
We recommend that you discuss these matters with experienced, qualified attorneys before taking any action. As a general matter, we will address some frequently asked questions asked about the Paycheck Protection Program. If you need assistance navigating this application or any other issues related to the continued operation or liquidation of your business, please don’t hesitate to contact our law firm.