School Closures Extended for Remaining Academic Year
In Friday’s press conference, Governor Cuomo announced both grade schools and colleges, would remain closed in New York for the remainder of the school year. The decision on summer schools being allowed to operate will be made at the end of May, and will be made in conjunction with the decision to reopen regions. The governor also called for schools to develop plans that take into account the new social distancing guidelines. These plans would be used to reopen the schools at the beginning of the next school year.
The Governor also Announces targeted efforts to further reduce the number of new hospitalizations per day. This new effort will gather additional information and data from hospitals about the individuals who are being hospitalized for COVID-19, including if they are essential workers, where they work, how they commute, where they live and other demographics. This specific information and data from the hospitals will be used to come up with a new strategy more tailored to the reduction of new daily hospitalizations.
Manufacturing hits 11-year low in April, IHS Markit says
US manufacturing in April contracted, with a reading of 36.1 on IHS Markit’s Purchasing Managers’ Index, the lowest level in 11 years. IHS Markit said the decline was caused by factory shutdowns due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Form I-9 Announcement from E-Verify: COVID-19 Temporary Policy for List B Identity Documents
Because many areas are under stay-at-home orders due to COVID-19 and some online renewal services have restrictions, employees may experience challenges renewing a state driver’s license, a state ID card, or other Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, List B identity document. Considering these circumstances, DHS is issuing a temporary policy regarding expired List B identity documents used to complete Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification.
Beginning on May 1, identity documents found in List B set to expire on or after March 1, 2020, and not otherwise extended by the issuing authority, may be treated the same as if the employee presented a valid receipt for an acceptable document for Form I-9 purposes.
IRS Provides Guidance on Deductible Business Expenses and PPP Loans
The IRS has explained how it will handle the tax treatment of deductible expenses for businesses receiving Paycheck Protection Program loans. To prevent a “double tax benefit,” the IRS will not allow taxpayers to deduct trade or business expenses (e.g., payroll) associated with forgiven PPP loans, which under the CARES Act are not considered as taxable income.
States Face Pushback on Expanding Workers’ Comp
States including California and New York are facing resistance from businesses and public employers over efforts to extend workers’ compensation benefits to a broader range of frontline workers who contract COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. Employers say some proposed changes would be financially destructive for insurers and hurt the economic recovery.
COBRA Impact: DOL Guidance on Benefit Plans
On Wednesday, the DOL, in conjunction with the IRS and other Agencies, released a notice of “guidance and relief” for employee benefit plans due to the COVID-19 outbreak. While the notice impacts a wide range of compliance requirements and deadlines under ERISA, Council friend and Associate member Rose & Kiernan are sharing information specific to COBRA.
Time frames for electing and paying for coverage have been extended.
Read More: RK Blog – COVID-19 & COBRA.docx
Deeper Dive from the Economist: The 90% Economy- Life After Lockdowns
It will be hard in ways that are difficult to imagine today
In many things 90% is just fine; in an economy it is miserable, and China shows why. The country started to end its lockdown in February. Factories are busy and the streets are no longer empty. The result is the 90% economy. It is better than a severe lockdown, but it is far from normal. The missing bits include large chunks of everyday life. Rides on the metro and on domestic flights are down by a third. Discretionary consumer spending, on such things as restaurants, has fallen by 40% and hotel stays are a third of normal. People are weighed down by financial hardship and the fear of a second wave of covid-19. Bankruptcies are rising and unemployment, one broker has said, is three times the official level, at around 20%.
Read More at the Economist (Covid-19 coverage is being provided free to non-subscribers)