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The Network Effect
Last week, the Chamber launched a virtual portal for employers to submit questions relating to COVID-19 and its impact on business. Responses are posted at madisonbiz.com/covid19faq.

Submit questions about Gov. Evers' "Safer at Home" order, the CARES Act, availability of assistance for your business and more by visiting Slido.com and entering the event code #ASK4BIZ (or simply click here to go directly to the page). Questions can also be submitted via email at ask@madisonbiz.com.


Good evening --

Here are the latest updates on the COVID-19 outbreak and our organizational efforts to inform and ensure an effective community response:

FEDERAL STIMULUS UPDATE

The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote on the CARES Act, a $2.2 trillion COVID-19 stimulus package, tomorrow (Friday, March 27). The Senate passed the bill 96-0 late Wednesday night (March 25).

A section-by-section breakdown of the bill that passed the Senate can be found here. We are continuing to monitor the debate and will share further information in tomorrow's update.

FAMILY, MEDICAL AND SICK LEAVE

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) has announced its first round of published guidance relating to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which was signed into law last week and takes effect on April 1, 2020. The guidance includes a Fact Sheet for Employees, Fact Sheet for Employers and Q&A document.
 
Under the FFCRA, employees of covered employers are eligible for:

--Two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick time at the employee’s regular rate of pay where the employee is unable to work because the employee is quarantined and/or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis; or
--Two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick time at two-thirds the employee’s regular rate of pay because the employee is unable to work because of a need to care for an individual subject to quarantine, or to care for a child whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable and/or the employee is experiencing a substantially similar condition as specified by the Department of Health and Human Services; and
--Up to an additional 10 weeks of paid family and medical leave at two-thirds the employee’s regular rate of pay where an employee, who has been employed for at least 30 calendar days, is unable to work due to a need for leave to care for a child whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable.
 
Anyone interested in learning more about their rights and responsibilities under the FFCRA can participate in the Department of Labor’s national online dialogue through Sunday, March 29 by registering here.

SMALL BUSINESS AND UNEMPLOYMENT RESOURCES

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) recently made available Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) to assist businesses in Wisconsin affected by the COVID-19 outbreak, following a request from Gov. Tony Evers. The loans offer up to $2 million in assistance and can provide vital economic support to small businesses to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills. These loans are not intended to make up for lost profits or to be used for expansion.

For eligibility guidelines, application guidance, options for application assistance and answers to frequently asked questions, see this document from Wisconsin’s SBA Office.

You may apply online, receive additional information and download applications here. For a list of recommended documents and required forms as part of the application process, click here.

For additional assistance, contact the SBA’s helpline at 800-659-2955 from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. CT seven days a week or by email at disastercustomerservice@sba.gov. You can also visit their website at sba.gov/disaster.

In addition, the state Department of Workforce Development (DWD) has made available a public information page for questions related to COVID-19 and unemployment insurance. Visit the page here.

WISC-TV ON "SAFER AT HOME"

Chamber President Zach Brandon was interviewed for a story that ran Wednesday evening (March 25) on WISC-TV and addresses the impact of Gov. Tony Evers' "Safer at Home" order on Greater Madison's economy.

Zach discussed the Chamber's new virtual Q&A portal for employers, as well as tips for how to support local businesses, including continuing to spend if you are able to do so. As he put it, "I know our natural inclination in dire economic times or unknown economic times is to hunker down, and create financial reserves for us. But if at any point things in the economy start to grind to a halt or slow down, we’re all going to feel it."

See the story here.

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For a full archive of previously shared resources, visit madisonbiz.com/covid19.

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