DEED Call Notes 4/23/2020
Apple Valley Chamber Note: Today’s call is very interesting concerning EMPLOYEES WHO REFUSE TO RETURN TO WORK due to not feeling safe or doing better on the extra generous Unemployment Insurance currently available. We have been hearing from businesses that business owners are put in a tough situation with this. Here is a clarification of what employers should do.
- Self employed & UI (Must Be Primary Revenue Source)
- Reopening Template Feedback
- Reducing Customer Contact Goal
- OSHA & Business Feedback
- Best Practices Template Based on CDC Guidelines
- DEED Clarification About Claiming 82% Working
- Are S-Corps Elegible (Individual applies, not Corp.)
- Getting PUA & PPP Both? (Yes)
- 501c-6 Eligibility (No)
- DEED Emergency Bridge Loan Update ($20 more into SBEL)
- Do Documented Foreign Workers Qualify for UI? (Yes)
- Employees Who Refuse to Return to Work and UI Status
- Terminating An Employee (if refuse—Sometimes, yes)
- Testing Announced Yesterday up to 20,000/Day (Mayo/UM)
2020 04 23 Call, DEED
Thursday, April 23, 2020
Steve Kelley, Commissioner of Commerce
Nicole Blissenbach, Asst Commissioner of Department of Labor and Industry
Robert Doty, Asst Commissioner of Revenue
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
- Continue to make good progress on PUA. This is the part of the CARES Act helping self-employed individuals get UI. A lot of progress with Revenue re data sharing agreement and process to verify self-employment status and revenue #s. Again, a very complex project. we are one of the first states in the US to establish this. already have provided some payments to self-employed on whom we already have income data. Want to protect from fraud and ensure the $ goes to deserving persons.
- PUA: only goes to people for whom self-employment is their primary source of income. Not for those whose self-employment is a side deal or partial job. The self-employment must provide their living, have to have been displaced from that job, and have to have been actively working in that job – not a passive income stream.
- Great feedback from online form. 3392 responses thus far. Top 10 categories: social distancing and spacing, sanitation and cleaning, mask wearing, timing and appointment strategies for reducing customers’ contact, physical barriers, processing pymts, filling customer orders, ways to limit contact with customers, and training employees. Is helping us refine our strategy to help businesses across the state. This will be our norm in the workplace in the near future.
- www.Mn.gov/deed will be posting some of these. Are informing our thinking about how to reopen in a thoughtful way.
- Tune in at 2pm today for Governor’s daily briefing as we plan for the days and weeks ahead.
Steve Kelley, Commerce
- Continue working to assure we can provide temporary licenses to applicants, particularly in the insurance field, because testing centers are closed. Increase in demand in life insurance agency sector. Should be available as early as tomorrow.
- Yesterday, Governor and UofM and Mayo Clinic, with MDH and others, announced a plan for rapidly expanding testing both for the actual COVID-19 disease and the antibodies after you’ve recovered. Will have cost implications for health insurance , will be working with MN insurers and self-insured employers re cost implications to help them better manage those costs.
- Thank you to business community for reaching out and working with our OSHA division to help ID and implement best workplace practices for safety and health.
- OSHA has been receiving many proactive contacts re best protocols.
- Also hearing that, when they are receiving complaints from employees, employers are responding well and making the necessary changes.
- On our OSHA website: now have up (referred to on Monday) an optional plan template and feel free to comment on. Also industry specific guidance for meat packing and grocery stores, fact sheet on PPE, safety and health guidelines in essential work operations, and links to all the relevant CDC/MDH and federal OSHA regulations. And contact info re OSHA compliance and consultations.
Robert Doty, Revenue
- Looking at federal legislation related to COVID-19 virus. CARES Act, enacted 3/27, $2+ trillion stimulus and relief package. $591 billion, has various tax provisions, looking at it in terms of its effect on Minnesotans and our ability to conform to those provisions.
- FFCRA: enacted on 3/18, $192 billion legislative pkg. Of that, $104 billion for tax credits and provisions, we are reviewing as well.
- Remind everyone: please go to our website, a lot of info and FAQs. Most up to date on tax deadlines. Also link to IRS resources, esp those related to economic stimulus payments. Working to provide as much info as we can.
- DLI: what parts of DLIs template, posted online, are requirements based on law vs recommendations for best practices? Can you ID which are beyond legal requirements? Blissenbach: template was based on CDC guidelines, all businesses need to put in place. Template is optional, not a required template, so it’s for your use. At the end of it you can see links to many different sources of information related to specific information within the template. The key is to ensure those CDC guidelines are implemented. If you have specific questions about a portion of the template that doesn’t seem to work in your workplace based on your unique needs/requirements, I encourage you to reach out to our OSHA Consultation Division and ask those questions.
- DEED: when you say 82% in relation to the proportion of MN being open, can you clarify this? Have been some conflicting statements. Grove: 82% is our economists’ estimation at DEED of the # workers currently still working in critical sectors in MN. Not the # of businesses or sectors or jobs available, but actually the # of people working. Based on UI stats, # industries in noncritical sectors, and looking at original CISA guidance. Started out, when SAH first issued, 78%. As some exemptions are rolling out, that # has increased to 82%. Knew it would be dynamic based on constant communication with business community. 82% employees, reflecting critical sectors, working.
- S Corporations: I have heard that S Corps aren’t eligible for PUA… can you confirm this? Grove: I believe they are, per federal guidelines. Dannon: I agree. I believe they are. We would be providing the PUA to the individual, not the corporation itself. Individual would apply. PUA isn’t concerned about the S Corp itself. If they’ve been denied, it’s because PUA isn’t ready yet. But they are in the system now and will be addressed again.
- Can you receive both PUA and PPP? Grove: yes.
- If a co gets PPP $, but doesn’t address full wages, how does it affect UI and how do they report that? Grove: the whole loan vehicle is intended to cover employees for those whole 8 weeks. I’m newly aware of situations where companies have gotten partial coverage. Will have to follow up, and connect to SBA. Questioner can email Anna Peterson directly with more information. Blissenbach or Dannon: the PPP is based on 2019 wages, so it is anticipated that, should wages have changed in 2020, the PPP grant may not represent 100% of current wages. You as an employer will have to make decisions about how/who to pay.
- Any outlook for assistance for 501c6 groups? Several chambers on these calls have asked. Not eligible for any benefits. McKinnon: a lot of voices lobbying Congress about this right now. IEDC is talking to Congress as well, as is U.S. Chamber. (no coverage under U.S. Senate’s version of “3.5 stimulus plan” that the House is anticipated to sign today).
- Any hope of more funding through DEED or emergency bridge loans? McKinnon: yesterday, Senate heard a bill that would put another $20M into the SBEL program. House will hear a version of that this week. Legislature is hearing bills. Timing and ultimate results are TBD. EIDL is a federal program, $60 billion more appropriated to that program this week.
- Do documented workers who are not American citizens, qualify for UI? Blissenbach or Dannon: yes. You do need to be eligible to work to be qualified.
- On Monday we talked about companies calling employees and they were refusing to come back. Related to that, what should be the guide for businesses in this situation? 1) can they fire those employees because they need workers? 2) how do they let UI know they have refused? Grove: employers have an acct with UI just like employees do. There are ways in your account you can indicate that an employee is refusing to come back to work. Re employment law and firing, I can’t answer. Broader question: yes, you can tell us that this person has refused to come back to work, and that will help us determine their eligibility for UI. Blissenbach: re firing, it depends on circumstances. Are they eligible for protected leave, are they entitled to reasonable accommodation? So the question is hard to answer in a blanket way. Whether or not a person can be terminated is based on particular circumstances and agreements that already are in place. Dannon: first thing employer can do, for UI purposes, is go to website and raise issue. We can work with employer and employee to work through the issue. Please do that within 10 days to prevent potential overpayment. There also are videos and clear information on the website to help you through this.
- Do we know how many people in MN have potentially had COVID-19 that have not been tested? Grove: no, but I think most people saw the announcement yesterday re the testing breakthrough announcement. 20K tests/day that will drastically increase our knowledge of the spread of COVID. The #s on who’s got it so far has been a real moving target based on testing availability. Testing is a bedrock. We are very lucky to have the U and Mayo working on our behalf. Data moving forward should be must more comprehensive.