Industry Experts Share Insight on the Usefulness of Government Relief Programs

The government has created several relief programs as a result of COVID-19’s impact. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan, the Economic Injury Disaster Advance Loan (EIDL), and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) are the programs being discussed by members of the industry. But how are these programs being received thus far?

“These are trying times and I fully support the Relief Program. I don’t call it a stimulus program because the funds supplied by the government are already spent via rent, utilities, and other bills,” said Bob Beranek, Automotive Glass Consultants, Inc. founder and president. “It won’t be for new spending which means I don’t think it’ll help with our industry’s bottom line.”

CARES Act

The CARES Act was signed into law, appropriating $377 billion for companies with 500 employees or less. The program is designed to provide immediate relief through grants, while allowing the Small Business Administration (SBA) to administer loans of up to $10 million per small business—portions of which are labeled as forgivable.

“I would urge the glass shops to take every advantage offered to them. This global unprecedented event will pass, and we must be prepared for the recovery,” said Beranek.

PPP

The PPP is a part of the CARES Act, which has $349 billion designated to it, but how are businesses faring and do industry pros view it as a necessity?

“I filled out an application earlier last week using the sample application that had been published by the SBA and sent it to our local bank. I have yet to get a loan confirmation number from the SBA which is what shows that you’ve gotten an allocation of that $349 billion, of which I expect will run out,” Paul Morris, Jack Morris Auto Glass – Memphis president and lawyer, said during a recent AGRR magazine special podcast..

“We are actually open and have a steady stream of traffic by way of telephone and are installing glass and calibrating vehicles. We also seem to be generating enough revenue to cover our overhead costs, including payroll,” said Michael Franklin AmeriPro Auto Glass LLC administrative director. “There are many, many others who are not as fortunate as we are, and we see that, so we decided to let others have access to the limited funds. We think that the program is fantastic for those who have been forced to close shop by no choice of their own. I sincerely hope that everyone who obtains the money utilizes it wisely.”

“I’ve been banking on this PPP because it’s forgivable, said Morris. “The main things is to proceed with caution on all of it because you have to provide documentation … we don’t know what the IRS is going to require on the back end.”

“When we come out of this downturn, the need for our services will increase considerably and glass shops must be prepared for the increase with trained and competent technicians,” Beranek said. “If the glass shops layoff [employees], there could be a possibility of losing your talented help. The PPP loan will assist in keeping your techs on your payroll without financial loss.”

EIDL

In response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, small business owners in all U.S. states, Washington D.C., and territories are eligible to apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan advance of up to $10,000, according to the SBA.

This advance will provide economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue. Funds will be made available within three days of a successful application, according to the SBA, and tis loan advance will not have to be repaid.

FFCRA

The FFCRA requires employers to provide their employees with paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. The paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave provisions of the FFCRA apply to employers with fewer than 500 employees.

“The paid sick leave portion provides 100% of your regular pay if you’ve been subject to a quarantine order from the government or you’ve been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine related to COVID-19, or if you’re experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and you’re seeking a medical diagnosis,” said Morris. “A big category is if you’re caring for your child because their school or place of care is closed due to COVID-19 related reasons. If you’re the primary caregiver you can qualify for the up to 80 hours of paid sick leave and then on top of that after that is gone then you can also qualify for up to 10 more weeks of paid leave for that category.”

An important note to know for those with children: if you have a child whose school is closed and you’re the primary caregiver you get 12 weeks of paid leave if you are the only person available to take care of said child and if you are not able to continue working or telework. The paid leave for childcare is only at two thirds of your pay versus 100% of your pay.

“For any of this paid sick leave under this act, the government will credit us on our social security taxes 100% of the money we paid for that sick leave. So we don’t have to pay it up front, we just take a credit and deduct that from the amount that we would normally pay for social security taxes,” said Morris. “If we’ve already paid our social security taxes or if the social security taxes aren’t enough to apply for how much sick leave we’ve given then we get a reimbursement. That’s how the law is written.”

“I did not, at the present time, apply for relief, but I would urge those that have employees to take advantage of the PPP loan,” Beranek said.

This article is from glassBYTEs™, the free e-newsletter that covers the latest auto glass industry news. Click HERE to sign up—there is no charge. Interested in a deeper dive? Free subscriptions to Auto Glass Repair and Replacement (AGRR) magazine in print or digital format are available. Subscribe at no charge HERE.

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