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What do Business Owners Need to Know Amid the Coronavirus?

In this week's Arista Advice, Paul L. Moffat of Arista Wealth Management is joined by Diane Welch, an attorney with McDonald Carano, to discuss what business owners need to know and be aware of amid the Coronavirus pandemic.

Full Transcript:

We're here joined by Diane who is a wonderful friend and client of Arista Wealth Management. We've worked with her for years, and she's got a wonderful pedigree, and we wanted to get this content out to all of our business owners who are scratching their head and having a difficult time understanding all of the things they're reading about online and wanted to begin and make her available to all of us.
Happy to have Diane Welch to speak with us and share with us. We have a few questions for Diane. Diane, welcome to Arista Advice.

Thank you. I'm happy to be here.

The first question that we have for you Diane is what is the most important thing that business owners need to know right now?

Right now, I think the important thing to know is that I know it's tough out there, but help is on the way for business owners in terms of government grants, loans, and tax credits. These are all geared to help mitigate the financial impact of the pandemic right now and also for employees there are provisions coming for a paid leave, for enhanced unemployment benefits, as well as extended emergency family leave. All of these are designed to quickly get cash into hands of people who may not be working right now because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

That's wonderful. Second question we have for you Diane that some of our business owners are asking for is what do they need to be aware of with their employees and things that they need to be protecting themselves from?

Right now it's important for business owners to know what rules apply to them. First and foremost you need to know whether or not you are an essential business because local governments are enforcing that, and it can come in the version of fines, a suspended business license, or even being charged with a misdemeanor if you're open when you're not supposed to be. Another thing that's very important right now is to know what your obligations are to your employees in terms of pay, benefits, leave, flexible work schedules, providing a safe work environment, and so forth. Many employers, most employers, should know that in January Nevada already passed a law that requires them to provide 40 hours full-time employees of paid time off, and that's prorated for their part-time employees.

That's not part of this response to the pandemic, but it's important to know how that plays and interacts with these recent temporary regulations. Those include paid sick leave that an employer's required to give to those employees who are missing work because of circumstances related to COVID-19 that applies to employers that have less than 500 employees. It's very specific because if you have an employee who's missing work for the reason that they've either been exposed to Coronavirus or they're experiencing symptoms, the employer is required to pay them two weeks of leave at their regular rate. If that employee's staying home because they are caring for an individual that has symptoms or if they're caring for a child whose school or daycare center is closed due to the pandemic they're required to pay them 2/3 of their regular rate of pay in those circumstances. Also, under the Care Act, the CARES Act, which is another Federal Regulation that just passed, it also provides employees with a $600 federal unemployment benefit weekly on top of whatever they might be receiving from the state if they're unemployed, terminated, laid off. That's important right now because in Nevada just last week over 71,000 people applied for unemployment benefits and in the last two weeks 163,000 people in Nevada applied for unemployment. So it's a very scary time out there for employees and business owners alike.

Diane we really appreciate you coming on. We know you're really, really busy right now, but thank you for answering these two questions. Any final words of advice that you have for these wonderful business owners?

Business owners need to know that in order to get relief from some of these financial constraints they're going to be entitled to a tax credit that will cover the amount they've had to pay out for sick leave. They also need to know that there are loans out there through the Small Business Association, and that's meant to cover payroll and other immediate needs and expenses to help them stay open and keep employees working. These are very specific to the company's financial situation, and if you have a business owner who plans to apply for those they really should roll in their financial advisor in that discussion because you'll play a big role in that. The information surrounding this pandemic is changing daily, hourly, by the minute, so it's really important to stay informed. I'm happy to say that at McDonald Carano. We have a full team that's paying attention to this and getting the most recent and up-to-date information posted to our website at McDonaldCarano.com It's on our Coronavirus news and information page.

Wonderful. Thank you so much. Hope you're well. Have a great week, and we look forward to talking to you soon.

Thank you. Stay well.