During this unprecedented time, our team at Handelin Law wants to assure small business owners that we remain available to provide legal advice to help them navigate these uncertain times. Below are six opportunities to use during this health crisis to help your business adapt and be protected.
Protect your employees
First and foremost, you must understand the importance of your team’s health and well-being. Create an Infectious Disease Policy to rapidly identify and control your systems during outbreaks and to prevent any threats to your business. If an employee does not feel comfortable being at work because of an outbreak or because of the employee’s health concerns, take into consideration their health and safety, not only for them but for you and the rest of your team. Below are some highlights from the recently published “Top 10 Tips to Protect Employees’ Health” provided by the Center for Disease Control:
- Encourage sick employees to stay home.
- Develop flexible policies for scheduling and telework and create leave policies.
- Promote etiquette for coughing and sneezing.
- Perform routine cleaning of [office equipment].
- Provide education and training materials [regarding COVID-19].
- Have conversations with employees about their concerns.
- Talk with companies that provide your business with contract or temporary employees about their plans.
- Plan to implement practices to minimize face-to-face contact.
- Consider the need for travel and explore alternatives.
- If an employee becomes sick while at work, they should be separated from other employees and sent home immediately. (cdc.gov/coronavirus)
Cross-train your employees
In the event an employee becomes ill, or your business must scale back and send employees home, it will be crucial that you have a plan in place to ensure that work continues to get done. If you want your business to run as smoothly as possible, your staff must be well versed in not only their work functions but their colleagues. Ensuring that there are manuals for each position now, ensures that your business keeps operating. Are you slow on business but able to keep on your employees? Now is the perfect time to cross-train; however, ensure that you are following all the appropriate social distancing and safety protocols.
Apply for government relief programs
In addition to taking care of your employees, you should also be taking care of your business. There are several government relief programs specifically created to help small businesses through this unfortunate time. Below is a short list, along with hyperlinks to the program. Please be sure to check back often, as the programs and processes are constantly being updated.
Get your Paycheck Protection Program Application Submitted
The government has stepped in to help with small businesses throughout the entire country. The Paycheck Protection Program will provide approximately $350 billion* in forgivable loans to small businesses. In the event that the funds are used for payroll or pay rent/mortgage, or other qualified uses, repayment will be forgiven. As a small business owner, the main concern is (even when working remote) the decrease in revenue – which can potentially lead to a complete shutdown. The Paycheck Protection Program is in place to help bridge the gap and keep you and your employees working.
*This number may increase based on additional stimulus that the United States Legislators are currently discussing. Applying now may ensure that if additional funding becomes available, you are first in line.
Review your businesses contracts, governing documents, and policies
Your company must be well informed on any contracts or governing documents and internal policies that may be affected during this time. Be sure you understand the potential risks your business may face if an obligation cannot be met during this period of inactivity or reduced activity.
Consult your attorney
During this time, you or your employees may face issues such as insurance claims, evictions, tax provisions, or family emergencies. Handelin Law, as a provider of premier legal services, is an essential business. We remain open and will be available electronically if your circumstances require help from our team of attorneys. Reach out to your insurance provider, tax professional, and our legal team to ensure that you are protected.
When the times get tough – the tough get going, and nothing lasts forever. Handelin Law remains committed to you, your business, and your family when you need it most. So, for now, stay safe, stay healthy, and stay ready. Please feel free to call our office with any questions or concerns about your small business.