DEED Call Notes 4/20/2020
Apple Valley Chamber NOTE: The following is a table of subjects in the text below from today’s 7 a.m. Commissioners Meeting:
- DNR (“No mingling between households in outdoors”)
- Exec. Order (EO 20-33) Requires ALL EMPLOYEES who can work from home to do so even if critical list exempt —NEW Critical List Summary for Outdoor Employment
- Link: To Send Feedback for Your Industry
- Link: Useful TEMPLATE for your Company to Open Safely
- UI: 13 Week Extension
- Summer GASOLINE RULE delayed
- Licensing Delays
- Q & A
- Is Safe Return Template a new MANDATE?
- New Federal 80 Hour Paid Sick Leave Law. “Must you pay even if untested?”
- Are Tax Credits available for those paying sick leave
- Must employee GO BACK TO WORK IF ASKED?
- Are UI Premiums Impacted
- Should BANKS still receive DEED Loan Applications though money is gone?
- SELF EMPLOYED: How to calculate using 2019 Taxable Income
2020 04 20 Call, DEED
Monday, April 20, 2020
Steve Kelley, Commissioner of Commerce
Nicole Blissenbach, Asst Commissioner of Department of Labor and Industry
Steve Grove, Commissioner of DEED
Kevin McKinnon, Deputy Commissioner of DEED
Darielle Dannon, Legislative Director
Anna Peterson, DEED Chief of Staff
MOVING FORWARD, THESE CALLS WILL BE M-Th.
DEED, Steve Grove
- Friday news, release EXECUTIVE ORDER 20-38 (CLICK TO VIEW FULL ORDER DETAILS), allowing for safe outdoor recreation. A lot of thought went into this with DNR, DEED and others. Idea is to allow for more outdoor recreational activity, as long as they are engaging within a single household. Still no mingling between households.
- Includes ability to engage in parks, local/regional/private trails, water accesses, marinas and docks, golf courses and driving ranges, off highway vehicles repair shops and sales by appt, water related services, bait shops, shooting ranges. Go to www.mn.gov/deed/critical, our hub for these announcements, see detailed list that has been updated.
- Over the weekend, continuing to engage with business and labor and internal team on plans to reopen economy and what that looks like. Learning from other states and businesses who are getting this right.
- Business Plan Preparedness Template: we are developing a template you can use to create a safety plan for your business. DLI, MDH have been very helpful. Template should be on DLI website later today, stand by for draft release to receive feedback/public comment. (url is included here.
- Send feedback to: [email protected].
- TEMPLATE FOR YOUR BUSINESS TO REOPEN SAFELY (Is Excellent Guide) https://www.dli.mn.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/COVID_19_business_plan_template.pdf)
- Continuing to look at guidance from health officials re reopening.
- UI: $600 extension pay is going out, 13-week extension is fully operational now. Still working on PUA program build-out.
Steve Kelley, Commerce
- Continuing to work with our stakeholders, financial institutions, on the economic effects of COVID-19 pandemic and how it might change how they do business. Will be an ongoing issue for the months to come.
- Have adopted a waiver that puts MN in line with US EPA Summer Gasoline Rule. Fewer people are driving and winter mix of gasoline was still in a lot of station and other tanks. Taking more time to make that transition due to decline of fuel use.
- Working on additional waivers or delays re licensing deadlines for various professions that obtain their licenses thru Commerce.
Nicole Blissenbach, DLI
- COVID-19 Preparedness Template: as Grove indicated above, this is a preparedness plan, on DLI website, COVID-19 page. Draft template is posted there, including a link to provide feedback.
- Draft Business Plan Preparedness Template shows steps a business would take to show their preparedness for workers returning to work. Outlines CDC, MDH guidelines and OSHA standards. Welcome feedback.
- Other OSHA updates: hard at work with MDH addressing some of the increasing #s of COVID-19 in certain workplaces and has plans to go out with MDH to talk about decontamination and other safety procedures. We want to ensure we are doing everything we can at state level to help businesses to take necessary steps to maintain workforce as well as safety/health.
- Encouragement to you: if you have questions about how to maintain safety/health in your workplace, please reach out to OSHA Consultation Group. Happy to talk with you.
- Business Plan Preparedness Template: we’re hearing a new mandate on employers will be part of reopening economy re COVID-19 health plans. Can you explain the thinking, considering over 80% of the state is working without mandate. Doesn’t make sense. Grove: good question, fair one. Not really a “mandate,” more about “best practices.” Having a plan really matters. We want to ensure that noncritical businesses really have a plan as well, like the critical businesses currently do. Is based on CDC guidance. Hoping the template is helpful. We are not at the scale of businesses reopening where the govt could vet every one of these plans, nor would we want to. Is a resource. The ask is that, when you reopen, you create a plan such that workers and businesses are on the same page. Again, is about offering best practices that protect you and your workers. Should be a win-win, give you a jump start to get started. Blissenbach: I encourage you to look at the plan. Is pretty straightforward, comprehensive. Hopefully, it is a plan you can look at, see the commonsense, and see the great links to CDC and MDH guidelines that will be really helpful. Hygiene, social distancing, respiratory etiquette, housekeeping, prompt ID of those who are sick, etc. Lays out in a straightforward manner. And do submit feedback.
- Under the new federal law, employers are required to provide 2 weeks sick leave for those who are tested positive for COIVID-19. Though most aren’t able to be tested. How to handle if employee doesn’t have the actual test but is instructed to quarantine due to “presumptive positive.” Who will help navigate this? Blissenbach: FFCRA Act. Outlined in that law are 6 different reasons employer must provide up to 80 hours paid sick time. Some of those reasons outlined do not require a positive test. One, for ex, is when employee is experiencing symptoms and seeking diagnosis, or advised by health care provider advice to quarantine. Do not require a positive test. Re enforcement, will be US DOL, Wage and Hour Division. They are handling implementation and enforcement. As part of that legislation, there are tax credits for businesses covered by that law for the paid sick leave they provide to their employees under that provision. Also have a form you can submit questions in, as well as a hotline. Encourage people to reach out to them with questions. https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic
- UI: last week we talked about the $600/week bump. We talked about the situation in whcih a business is open, employees are asked to come back to work and they choose not to. Grove had indicated that “inability to work” is an eligibility requirement for UI. If employee chooses not to come back, does UI have the capacity to deny them and how does the agency know? Grove: we’re getting this question a lot. Never been in this situation before. But the broad principle: if you are able to go back to work, both in terms of employer with job and you are physically able, then you must go back to work. That’s the foundational premise of UI. Of course, some new policy provisions built in to UI re COVID-related exposure. We are building out a more detailed FAQ we will release upon any change in dynamic re people going back to work. Look at policies for critical sectors: the “worried well” are expected to continue to work. Same applies to additional industries that open back up. One reason this is justifiably a little tricky is that the CARES Act $600 bump is so generous. If you make $12000/week or less, UI now is a better option. Is a good problem to have, but – at the end of the day – the more businesses stay connected to workers, the better off we will be as we restart. Blissenbach: we ask that employers with questions like this refer to Employer section in UI website (https://www.uimn.org/employers/raise-issue/index.jsp) re how to raise an issue. That’s the technical way to let the agency know. There is a bit of nuance if those employees may have special circumstances, but start there. Do that quickly, hopefully within 10 days of employee’s decline. Allows us to follow up in a timely manner and determine if employee has a legal reason for declining coming back to work – so we can stop UI payments if appropriate.
- UI: what does employer do if former employees show up on their account? Already raised the issue, employee quit back in Nov 2019 and still shows up on account. How to address? Blissenbach: once employer raised an issue, and employee continues to get wrongful payment, employer should appeal DLI’s opinion. Back to website for guidance. This isn’t a court appeal but, instead, is highlighting an error the agency can fix.
- Will a business’s UI premium be impacted by employees or themselves applying for PUA? Grove: should not. First EOs re UI insurance were careful that employers would not shoulder the cost of an expanded program. Whole purpose was to help workers dislocated due to no fault of their own. No fault of employer either. Gov was careful to ensure no additional premiums or costs would be attributed to the employer.
- A number of questions specific to certain industries timing of back to work like tourism, dog grooming, greenhouses. If we go back to plan posted on DLI website now, these questions should be answered (?) Wanted to acknowledge those questions… Grove: the Business Plan Template posted is not a plan for how the economy will reopen. Is a preparedness safety plan for your environment. For businesses with specific question, and we’re hearing from a lot of them, SAH still very much in effect. Beyond outdoor rec mentioned above, not changing anything of EO 20-33 at this time.
- DEED Emergency Loan apps have far exceeded capital availability. DEED guidance to lenders is to continue receiving applications. Any guidance re future funds or close program? McKinnon: have discussed with lenders, they are asking those questions. Yes, far more apps than lenders can reasonably fund with resources we have. Later this week we will be providing more guidance to them on this. Our lenders are working as diligently as they can to process loan apps they have at this point.
- PPP: for the PPP, if your business is not open due to EO, how do you apply for PPP when you’re supposed to use it right away – and yet your business is closed… (?) McKinnon: when your staff are able to come back, that’s the time period at which you will be eligible for the resources to be forgivable.
- Is list of lenders on SBEL webpage being updated? Peterson: yes, updated as we approve them.
- I’m self-employed and business is structured as single member LLC. Am I eligible for PUA? I don’t have a traditional W2 payroll, only an owner’s draw. How are benefits calculated? Dannon: some of the challenges to developing the program will be this sort of question. My understanding, though we are working on details, is that we are taking your 2019 taxable income. From there, we are determining PUA benefits. There is a minimum benefit amount of $234 + $600/week. at minimum, $834/week. using a multiplier, to get you to 50% of regular income.