DEED Call Notes 4/9/2020
Apple Valley Chamber Note: This reveals “realtime” answers being clarified by Department Commissioners over the last hour concerning the Governor’s TV Conference yesterday. It answers questions such as:
- Workman’s Comp for self employed
- Those workers more at front line risk in your company
- Getting more banks signed for PPP Loans
- EIDL Loan (the easy $10,000) and is it $10K if have only a few employees)
- Critical sectors grew from 78% working (most from home) to 82% and how to get other 18% working
- Trying to find $ for front line most at risk (Nurses, Doctors, Police, Ambulance, Emergency Rooms, workers in nursing homes).
2020 04 09 Call, DEED
Thursday, April 9, 2020
Steve Kelley, Commissioner of Commerce
Nicole Blissenbach, Asst Commissioner of Department of Labor and Industry
Robert Doty, Asst Commissioner of Dept of Revenue
Steve Grove, Commissioner of DEED
Kevin McKinnon, Deputy Commissioner of DEED
Brian McDonald, MN District Office of SBA
John Kelly, Governor’s Policy Advisor
Darielle Dannon, Legislative Director
Anna Peterson, DEED Chief of Staff
Purpose: regular business call with state government. How can we do more for business?
Questions are being circulated into the forum through this daily communication. Always seeking ideas for more targeted supports.
MOVING FORWARD, THESE CALLS WILL BE M-Th.
DEED, Steve Grove
- EO 20-33: Governor yesterday walked thru extending SAH order, rooted in the progress we ‘ve made thus far to flatten the curve and employing social distancing practices across the state.
- Includes extending the closure of certain businesses thru May 4 as well.
- Progress has been extraordinary though very difficult for business.
- We are increasing our capacity as a state to prepare with gathering of PPE, preparing ICU beds….
- Based on guidance from feds, input from other states and hospitals… decision became clear that SAH order extension is in our best interests.
- Can watch the Governor’s presentation on YouTube, and can get slide deck.
- For business: in paragraph 10, Gov has asked DEED, Dept of Health, and DOL to begin planning for non-critical sector employees to return to work when it’s safe to do so. Will come with guidance on good health practices so as not to impact that curve of COVID-19 spread.
- We have been planning for what’s next…. Strong signal we are actively preparing for what getting back to work looks like.
- 82% of the state still working is thanks to continued update to our critical and non-critical business list. www.mn.gov/deed/critical.
- Updated CISA guidance in late March has been folded into our EO 20-33. # of critical sectors has grown. We started with a critical sector list that represented 78% working, now expanded to 82%. We are looking at how to get that final 18% back to work. Very actively pursuing this.
- Grateful for business input on how we should be doing this. After this call, will circle around an online forum seeking advice and thoughts on how to implement social distancing in a variety of sectors. What are best practices? And the practicality of social distancing in a business setting… business owners are best equipped to advise and amplify. Critical that we get this right.
- Now the first state in the nation to issue federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance “UI top-off payments,” $600 each. Processed over 200K in the first 24 hours.
- In addition, EO on Monday that cleared up eligibility issues that had stuck many on a standby list. 45K additional Minnesotans thanks to that EO.
- Want Minnesotans to get everything they deserve, as fast as possible.
- Self-employed… still waiting on more guidance such that they will be addressed by late April.
- Link to Governor’s executive orders: https://www.leg.state.mn.us/lrl/execorders/eoresults?gov=44
- Link to the Governor’s PowerPoint: https://mn.gov/covid19/assets/04%2008%202020%20Stay%20Home%20Extension_FINAL2_tcm1148-427293.pptx
Brian McDonald, SBA
- A lot of change since my last update last week.
- At SBA we’re still working hard to provide technical assistance. Over 500K small business and 400 SBA lenders, and that # is growing.
- CARES Act reps the largest economic recovery package ever put together.
- SBA got PPP program standing up in 5 days. Certainly some glitches in start-up, but capital is guaranteed. More is getting streamlined every day.
- Intended to provide relief to small businesses so they can sustain and keep people employed. Loan is forgiven as long as employees are kept on payroll.
- www.sba.gov/ppp to get documents on PPP. Including guidance doc, FAQs, etc.
- In MN, office is doing 2 trainings per day. Later today, 1 in Spanish. Also pursuing trying to do training in Somali and Hmong (Yao Yang at SPACC, Ex Dir of MN Hmong Chamber of Commerce, is assisting with this!).
- I’m in the MN District Ofc, local to this market, though employed at federal level.
- Our ofc is focused on answering small business and lender questions. Unprecedented amount of calls and questions… mission critical focus on this.
- Update: process for new lenders who are interested in being a PPP lender. I’ve seen a few new PPP delegated authority lenders have been approved in MN. Once approved to do PPP loans, they use a new gateway portal on sba.gov to submit their PPP loans.
- My office is listing the PPP lenders at www.sba.gov/mn and yesterday a new FAQ document went out, incl common questions from lenders and borrowers both. One question regarding amount of forgiveness depending on payroll, and when does that 8-week period begin? Begins on date lender gives first disbursement to borrower. Lender is obligated to make that disbursement no later than 10 days from loan approval.
- If you have questions not answered today, reach out to [email protected].
Steve Kelley, Commerce
- On Tues, Legislature adopted modifications to workers comp law for front line workers. Commerce is responsible for overseeing employers who are self-ensured for purpose of workers comp. We are working on ways to make sure we can spread the risk facing some of those front line employers as a result of the COVID-19 emergency and the change in the law adopted by Legislature on Tuesday, to make sure front line workers are protected for workers comp purposes.
- Also working with electric and telecom utilities to ensure utility service continues, esp for those customers who are stressed as a result of losing jobs or other economic circumstances arising from the emergency. As a whole, utilities have stepped up to not cutting off service during this time. Grateful for that flexibility.
Nicole Bissenbach, DLI
- Workers comp legislation did pass on Tues, Gov signed Tues night.
- DLI website has FAQs related to that legislation, summary of the changes, and the actual text of the legislation itself.
- If you have questions about the content of the legislation, reach out to our workers comp hotline or send email to our work comp division. All that info is on our website.
- Have been getting questions on who’s covered in new process, whether or not that preculudes others from applying (which it does not)… most common questions already are up on FAQ section of website. (B insert; website is www.dli.mn.gov/updates. Questions about the new workers comp bill are athttps://www.dli.mn.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/COVID-19_work_comp_presumption_faqs.pdf)
- Last weekend I received a question about paid leave under the federal legislation, Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA): will SAH order constitute a qualified reason for paid sick leave? One qualifying reason is when an individual is under state or federal quarantine order. DOL hadn’t issued its rule to determine if COVID-19 represents a “qualifying reason.” Have now issued that guidance as of Monday: DOL has taken a broad interpretation of that qualifying reason and stated that governmental orders, incl those advising individuals to stay at home, DO constitute a qualifying reason under the paid sick leave provision. Will only apply if the individual is prevented from working or teleworking, so the test comes down to whether or not the individuals is able to work. If not, is qualifying reason for paid sick leave.
- The rest of the rule is also up and gives guidance on how the different paid leave provisions will be applied.
Robert Doty, Revenue
- No real new updates from Revenue until next week when hopefully we can provide additional guidance on our various tax types and where we are with extension with filing and paying.
- Re SBA: businesses feel they are playing waiting game when it comes to waiting on loans/grants from DEED or SBA. Can you speak to timing of receipt of funds? McDonald: understand frustration and urgency. Be assured we are working to do everything we can to assure speed. Question depends on which program. On Tuesday, some EIDL advances were sent out (the $10K max money). Regarding the PPP, applications started on 4/3, not direct from SBA but through your lender and they are still available today. Disbursement time depends on when your SBA lenders scheduled your closing and processed your disbursement. That, too, is quite short. (B insert: as I understand it, PPP applications were accepted as of 4/3 for small business, and on 4/10 for independent contractors and self-employed).
- Can SBA confirm if EIDL grant is for $1K/employee if business has fewer than 10 employees? McDonald: first ones went out this week. Going forward, timeframes I’ve been given is that expectation is 3-5 business days. Was a bit delayed on first wave, but they are going out more quickly. Re $1K/employee, yes that’s what I understand.
- Our ethanol fuel production facility is anticipated to lose over $5M. What else is in place to assist with losses beyond PPP or EIDL? McDonald: there is an express bridge loan program. Still need to qualify as a small business with other eligibility criteria as well. We list our corona virus relief programs on www.sba.gov. Latest updates are there.
- DLI: we are starting to hear complaints from employees with underlying health conditions. Doctors are recommending they don’t go back to work. What is the guidance for employers and employees to handle this situation if people can’t work remotely due to the nature of their job? Blissenbach: FAQ page on website addresses accommodations. An indiv with disability under the ADA or under MN Human Rights Act would have the right to request an accommodation. That could include working from home, staggered shifts, or any number of different things. Would involve interactive process with employer re reasonable accommodations. If not, might mean employee doesn’t work and could qualify for UI. There is some guidance but that is under the purview of MN Department of Human Rights, enforcing the Act, or EEOC, who enforces the ADA. Accommodation process should be used if unable to work.
- As we prepare for extension of SAH measures, would help many small businesses for us to re-open in a limited manner. For ex, golf courses. Any thoughts on retail? If large retailers like Target and Wal-Mart can do curbside pick-up, small retailers should be able to do this as well. Grove: great question. Exactly the analysis underway now. Can we do this, esp with curbside or delivery… important for us to think through. We have loosened restrictions to allow for online orders… issue of being able to go into a retailer, stay in your car, get product delivered to your car… is practical and makes sense. Exploring this now, and in discussion with the health department. This is the creative thinking we need. For ideas like that, please submit to the forum we will distribute after this call.
- SBA: hearing stories of entrepreneurs applying for an EIDL loan expecting $10K advance, but receiving a lower amount. Can formula be shared so businesses know what to expect? McDonald: advance is UP TO $10K, about $1K/empl listed on application. If there were 12 employees, max is $10K. If sole proprietor, is $1K. App could be confusing… if someone put 0 employees, still default to 1 person.
- Question for Commissioner Kelley: can you talk more about spreading the risk of workers comp? Will workers comp insurance be raised for more businesses? Kelley: during discussions before Tuesday passage of the bill, a variety of solutions discussed, incl possibility of the state accessing funds from existing appropriations made for COVID-19 response or future legislative appropriations of funding… also waiting to get additional guidance on the federal CARES Act money coming to the state to determine if that $ could be used to reduce the impact on the employers of these front line workers. Obviously, if you think of the categories covered, from police to EMTs to nurses to people working in nursing homes, the risk of these people contracting COVID-19 fall heavily on a few employers. If we can identify some federal $ to support them, that would be a great solution. Another is the money from state. Also looking at resources from workers comp reinsurance assn, which is maintaining a substantial capital balance in addition to reserves for paying claims.