Federal agencies are quickly getting guidelines out the door on various relief provisions and mandates, particularly on the Paycheck Protection Program which launched today. Highlights of the past few days include:
Paycheck Protection Program and Loan Forgiveness
The U.S. Treasury Department released interim guidelines on April 2 regarding how the Paycheck Protection Program will be administered by local lenders, including eligibility requirements. These "interim final rules" are requirements that go into effect immediately, while the agency takes 30 days to receive public comments.
Local lenders backed by the SBA are working to process loan applications from employers with fewer than 500 employees, as well as applications from self-employed workers. These aim to support eight weeks of eligible costs (including payroll costs, rent, utilities, and mortgage interest payments) through loan forgiveness. Although the deadline is technically June 30, loan funds will be given on a first come, first served basis and will likely be gone well before that.
The new guidelines indicate that, “independent contractors have the ability to apply for a PPP loan on their own so they do not count for purposes of a borrower’s PPP loan calculation.”
Applying For Your Loan
If you think the Paycheck Protection Program is an option for your chorus, now is the time to begin a conversation or stay in touch with your lenders. As nonprofits across the country are contacting their lenders, here's what we are currently hearing from the field:
- As of April 3, some banks are ready to begin accepting the loans while others are not
- Some banks (like Bank of America) are only accepting applications from organizations with which they already have a lending (not just banking) relationship
- It may be helpful to start conversations with a number of different banks, and to leverage any relationships you or your board members have with lending institutions
Chorus America will be involved in continuing advocacy efforts to secure better access and increased funds to directly address nonprofit needs. Please share feedback and questions with us at firstname.lastname@example.org to help shape our efforts.
Families First Paid Leave Provisions
Beginning April 1, new COVID-19 related paid leave requirements are in effect. The U.S. Department of Labor has created a 59-question FAQ for employers, posters describing employee rights under the new law, and a bulletin announcing limited enforcement through April 17, as employers learn how to come into compliance.
SBA Economic Injury Disaster Relief and Loan Advances
On March 30, the Small Business Administration (SBA) launched a new streamlined application platform for organizations and self-employed individuals applying for emergency loans directly from the SBA, including $10,000 advance payments that will be forgiven by the federal government.
The League of American Orchestra's Federal Assistance webpage is continually updated with new information about the various forms of relief. The League also held an April 1 webinar on relief efforts and financial planning which is free to access for the public.
Chorus America's business member Chorus Connection published a detailed Two COVID-19 Relief Grants Your Chorus Should Apply for Today blog post.
This FAQ from the Future of Music Coalition is a clear and helpful resource for musicians who are freelancers or independent contractors.