Over the past several weeks, NAC Staff and our Governmental Affairs team have been diligently working to stay on top of and influence developments on state and federal levels impacting and offering potential financial relief for the US Independent/Retail ATM industry in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. As we hear from many of you, with significant concerns and issues, we have continued bringing as much influence as possible to bear upon the federal financial relief packages now being finalized. We are literally devoting all waking hours to these efforts, AND we will continue to do so on your behalf.
In addition to the information contained in this message, you will be receiving a series of emails from NAC to inform you of the latest key developments, including: the pending massive federal relief package, state relief efforts, Federal Reserve actions and communications, inclusion in federal and state-by-state designation of “Essential Services”, continued efforts to overcome misquoted information from the World Health Organization (WHO) and other adverse/misinformed media coverage regarding cash, and other current issues of interest to ATM Nation. These subsequent communications will also include more specific technical information concerning applications/contacts for federal/state financial relief.
Sincere thanks once again to all who have called/emailed NAC with questions, input and expressions of support! Please continue to call/write. You, our amazing NAC Members, are and always have been the keystone to the purpose and success of our work.
Now let’s get started.
As you may know, currently the U.S. House and Senate are gridlocked over the final (for now) and major Phase III portion of the Relief/Stimulus Package, dubbed the “CARES” bill by the Senate. This portion of the relief package contains the bulk of the largest funding for businesses ($500 billion) in the form of “forgiveness loans”. The final negotiating aspect primarily deals with the extent of oversight by the Treasury and restrictions on stock buybacks and CEO/management bonuses, which we expect to be resolved via negotiations and finalized shortly. Below is a synopsis of the Phase I and Phase II federal relief packages already passed and signed into law by the President.
Anticipated Impacts of COVID-19 Federal Laws on ATM Businesses
This measure passed Congress and was signed into law by the President on 3/6/2020 – an $8.3 billion dollar emergency funding package to fund COVID-19 emergency treatment, testing, and research.
U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loans
Small businesses in designated disaster States and territories may apply to the SBA for low-interest federal disaster loans to provide working capital to those small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus. Designated eligible states are identified once a request is received from a state’s or territory’s Governor.
Designated disaster states affected by COVID-19 presently include: Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia .
Numerous contiguous counties in other states are also designated, so please check the full listing in the following link: https://www.sba.gov/disaster-assistance/coronavirus-covid-19 . (Note this list is updated daily as requests are made by the Governors.)
Applications for relief may be downloaded at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela (be patient - takes time to load) and the deadline for application for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan is December 18, 2020. Applicants may also call SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
The turnaround time for approval is set at 36 hours.
Additional legislation passed by the Congress and signed into law by the President on 3/18/2020 includes free coronavirus testing, emergency paid sick leave program, enhanced unemployment insurance, and food security for low income families, seniors, and children. Effective date is April 2, 2020.
Sick Leave and Family Leave Wages Required of Small Businesses
Employers of less than 500 employees are required to pay up to eighty (80) hours of sick leave wages for employees (full or part-time) who are sick with COVID-19, under quarantine, or caring for someone sick with the coronavirus, and also to pay for up to twelve (12) weeks of family leave wages to employees who are caring for a child whose school has closed.
The Federal Government will provide businesses with a refundable payroll tax credit of 100% of the required wages.
These provisions include self-employers. The wages required are in addition to an employer’s sick leave policy, or those benefits required by state or local law.
Two-Week (up to 80 hours) Paid Sick Leave for Employees - The Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act
Full Paid Leave (at regular salary up to $511/day) only applies to: 1) employees tested, treated, or diagnosed with coronavirus; and, 2) employees directed by a doctor or governmental official to stay home because of symptoms or exposure. Applies only to employees who are unable to work or telework.
Partial Paid Leave (up to $200/day) applies to employees whose children’s schools have been closed and employees with family members affected by coronavirus.
Ten-Week Partial Paid Family Leave for Employees - The Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act
Partial Paid Leave (up to $200/day) applies to employees whose children’s schools have been closed, or childcare provider unavailable due to COVID-19.
Eventually, there may be regulations from the Department of Labor excepting businesses with less than 50 employees when the imposition of these requirements would jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern.
(There is an effort underway to allow some businesses to take the tax credit in advance, to ensure businesses have enough payroll on hand, but it is not yet adopted, and we will let you know further details on this as events unfold, as well as how to apply for the hardship exemption.)
In the original Senate bill, there was an exception for businesses with 50 or fewer employees, but it did not make it through to passage. NAC will be advocating for such a provision to be included in the final Phase III stimulus package.
Please call/email your Congressional Representative and Senators to let them know how important this exception is to small operators as well as the need for immediate funding relief to ATM operators in order to continue to be able to make cash and the stimulus/relief benefits broadly available throughout the nation’s economy.
Remind them that cash is no riskier to use – and maybe less so – than other forms of payment…with studies indicating that such viruses live longer on plastic and other such non-porous surfaces – versus porous surfaces such as cotton/linen based U.S. currency. The same appears true for the “transmissibility” of viruses – higher on a hard non-porous surface versus when enmeshed in the fibers of a porous cloth note.
Phase III Relief Package (Pending)
A stimulus package of unprecedented size and scope is currently under final joint consideration by the Senate, the House, and Administration, with provisions geared to helping both individuals and businesses. To address the immediate cash flow crisis facing most businesses in the U.S., upon enactment of the legislation corporations will be able to postpone their estimated federal tax payments until October 15, 2020. Employers and self-employed individuals may also defer payment of the employer share of Social Security tax for their employees. Other tax advantages for businesses are also included in the proposals.
If you have any questions regarding how these laws apply to your business, or need assistance regarding the above, please don’t hesitate to call NAC, and we are happy to assist you and help you locate the answers/information you need.
NAC will also continue keeping you informed regarding final adoption of the Phase III stimulus package, as well as all other ATM-relevant developments as the COVID-19 crisis continues to unfold.
In the interim – Stay Safe & Stay Strong – ATM NATION SHALL ENDURE!