The world is quickly changing and it seems we are inundated with communication. We have consolidated a short list of essential resources that might assist you in getting through this challenging time. Your IMA team is here to help; please contact your representative to discuss how we can help meet your evolving needs.
The Massachusetts Insurance Commissioner has issued a notice urging all insurance companies serving the state to “provide employers and individuals with as much flexibility as is reasonably possible during the period of the COVID-19 public health crisis to maintain their existing coverage.” This may include measures such as waiving late fees, relaxing due dates, and allowing enhanced payment plans. The full text of the bulletin can be found here: https://www.mass.gov/doc/bulletin-2020-05-flexibility-in-the-issuance-and-administration-of-insurance-during-covid-19/download.
The measures being taken may vary between insurance companies; reach out to your insurance company billing department or your IMA representative to find out how we can help.
Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)
The Act was signed into law on March 18, 2020 and will be effective from April 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020 for employers with less than 500 employees. The provision includes expanded FMLA requirements, paid sick leave requirements and tax credits available to you to cover wages up to the maximum requirements and to maintain health insurance coverage.
Please use the following link for complete information provided by the Department of Labor. https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-employer-paid-leave
The MA Governor signed emergency legislation that allows new claims to be paid more quickly by waiving the one-week waiting period for unemployment benefits and deploying more resources to process the large volume of claims.
In Massachusetts, you should file for Unemployment if:
- Your employer has reduced your hours of work or your wages due to COVID-19, or
- You are temporarily unemployed due to lack of work because of COVID-19, regardless of whether you are quarantined, laid off, furloughed, or if your workplace is fully or partially shut down temporarily
Massachusetts has published a comprehensive Employee Unemployment FAQ related to COVID-19, which can be viewed at https://www.mass.gov/info-details/employee-unemployment-faq-covid-19#my-employer-has-reduced-my-hours-because-of-covid-19.-should-i-apply-for-unemployment-benefits?-
New York has instituted a similar program for New York Paid Leave for COVID-19.
For unemployment resources in other states, visit https://www.dol.gov/general/topic/unemployment-insurance
ThinkHR – A Free Resource For Our Clients and Friends
Small business is the backbone of our economy and in these challenging circumstances, employers can feel isolated and overwhelmed in figuring out how to move forward. Through our partnership with ThinkHR, IMA is offering our clients and friends FREE access to their full set of HR services. This includes the ThinkHR COVID-19 Crisis Response Center. The Center provides essential tools and guidance to help you navigate through this crisis. It includes a resource library of white papers, templates, webinar recordings, a database of essential FAQ’s drawn from the most common questions asked, a guide to state and federal resources as well as access to live HR professionals 12 hours a day via phone or email.
If you are already signed up for ThinkHR, please take full advantage of the service. If you have misplaced your login credentials or you would like access for the first time, please contact Jodi Greene in our Benefits Department at firstname.lastname@example.org or 508-471-1134.
It would be prudent for all business owners to maintain an ongoing file related to COVID-19 lost income. Industry experts agree that in most cases, property insurance will not cover COVID-19 related business income losses, however, similar information may be required for government aid or if there is a federal backstop put in place to assist. Documentation should include ongoing financial logs, key event dates that pertain to your operations (such as elimination of dine-in options or closure of non-essential businesses) and additional expenditures related to continuing operations.
The Massachusetts RMV has taken steps to help MA residents maintain social distancing by offering a 60 day extension on motor vehicle safety and emissions inspection stickers due to expire in March or April. Regardless of the date of inspection, vehicles that were issued a failed inspection sticker due to a safety defect (indicated by a sticker with a red letter “R”) shall not be operated until appropriate repairs have been completed.
As RMV branches close or limit the number of customers they can serve in a day, we’d like to remind you that many registry transactions including license and registration renewals can be conducted online at www.Mass.Gov/RMV