COVID-19 UPDATE

In light of global precautions and following the protocols from the CDC and WHO, we have asked that our staff work from home. We have also adopted employee air travel restrictions for the next 30 days and will continue to assess and update our travel policy accordingly. We remain committed to providing exceptional service to our customers and will make every effort to do so. Please know that your service team members are operational and you will be able to reach them in the same manner you always have, whether by phone, email or text. Thank you for your continued support as we navigate this together.

BUSINESS IMPACTS OF COVID-19RESOURCE CENTER

What we offer

We provide comprehensive business insurance, personal insurance, employee benefits and financial services products to a wide range of businesses and individuals nationwide. With a commitment to people, we value a culture dedicated to serving our clients’ needs in an effort to protect their valuable assets and assist in making smart
decisions for their business or family.
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Sincerely,
M. Brant Watson
Senior Vice President
Heffernan Insurance Brokers
D: (925) 295-2506
M: (925) 330-1151

The CARES Act: Relief for Small Businesses

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The COVID-19 pandemic has been catastrophic for many restaurants, hotels and other hospitality businesses. Small businesses are especially vulnerable to sudden loss of revenue and forced closures. Although the situation seems bleak, legislation is being enacted to help both businesses and workers hurt by coronavirus. The new $2 trillion Phase III coronavirus relief package could provide even more relief.

Phase III of COVID-19 Legislation and Economic Relief

According to Investopedia, H.R. 758, or the CARES Act, is Phase III of COVID-19 legislation. It is also the largest stimulus bill ever in the United States. The $2 trillion bill includes expanded unemployment benefits, direct payments to individuals, relief for small businesses and more. The bill was passed by the Senate on March 25 and passed by the House of Representatives on March 27. It is expected to be signed by President Trump shortly.

In a March 26 interview with Sean Hannity on Fox News, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin discussed the relief package. Mnuchin said he hoped to get the small business program up and running the following week, allowing small businesses to get a loan immediately, and the loan could be forgiven if the businesses keep their employees. This will help small businesses continue to employ their workers while struggling with circumstances beyond their control.

CNBC reports that eligible businesses may be able to borrow up to the lesser amount of $10 million or 2.5 times their payroll. Businesses may also be eligible for a $10,000 emergency grant. Businesses with fewer than 500 employees may be eligible, and the loans are provided through private financial institutions. Loan forgiveness is also available.

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brant-watson

M. Brant Watson
Senior Vice President
Heffernan Insurance Brokers
D: (925) 295-2506
M: (925) 330-1151

IRS Issues Guidance on Tax Credits for Coronavirus Paid Leave Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act

tax-money

Small and midsize employers may begin using two new refundable payroll tax credits to obtain reimbursement for the costs of providing coronavirus-related leave to their employees, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced on March 20, 2020.

This relief is provided under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (the Act), which was enacted on March 18, 2020. The Act provides funds for employers with fewer than 500 employees to provide paid leave, either for their employees’ own health needs or to care for their family members. The Act aims to help employers keep workers on their payrolls while ensuring that workers are not forced to choose between their paychecks and the public health measures needed to combat the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Highlights of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act

Paid Leave Requirements

The federal coronavirus relief law requires employers to provide paid sick and family leave for COVID-19-related reasons, including lack of child care.

Employer Tax Credits

Eligible employers may claim two tax credits based on the COVID-19-related paid leave that they provide between April 2 and Dec. 31, 2020.

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brant-watson

M. Brant Watson
Senior Vice President
Heffernan Insurance Brokers
D:  (925) 295-2506
M:  (925) 330-1151
Email brantw@heffins.com

Layoffs, Leaves of Absence and Benefits During COVID-19

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Employers facing difficult business decisions right now may find themselves laying off employees. Others may be placing employees on leaves of absence because of industry slow downs.

Insurance contracts generally require employees to be actively at work in order to remain enrolled in benefits. The known exception to this requirement is for FMLA approved leaves. But what about leaves of absence not covered by FMLA, because an employee is not sick or caring for a family member, but simply told they cannot work for a period of time (because there is no work)? If an employer is requiring employees take a leave of absence from work during the COVID-19 pandemic due to a business slow down, they have two main options.

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M. Brant Watson
Senior Vice President
Heffernan Insurance Brokers
D:  (925) 295-2506
M:  (925) 330-1151
Email brantw@heffins.com

Managing the Remote Work Transition: Tips for Employers

work-from-home

As more cases of COVID-19 are detected in the United States, people are being asked to do what they can to stop the spread. Schools have been closed, events have been cancelled and many people are working from home.

In this situation, work-from-home policies are being implemented as an emergency measure, but the arrangement had already been gaining popularity for a while now. With modern technology, it’s easier than ever to telecommute, and it can give workers the flexibility they need to achieve better work-life balance. No one misses rush hour commutes, either.

Nevertheless, the transition can be tricky, especially when it comes unexpectedly. Here are some tips for employers managing the remote work transition.

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