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COVID-19 Updates and Resources

Whitmer signs order protecting workers who stay home fearing COVID-19 exposure

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer Thursday signed an executive order prohibiting employees from firing, disciplining or taking any other form of retaliation against such employees. Read more. 

Paycheck Protection Program Applications April 3, 2020!

As part of the CARES Act, and administered by the SBA, will provide a loan up to $10 million for payroll and other expenses. The program will provide funding to qualified small businesses as well as certain non-profit organizations.

Read the full description and find the application here: https://lnkd.in/ePDtewG


CORONAVIRUS EMERGENCY LOANS Small Business Guide and Checklist

Here are the questions you may be asking—and what you need to know…
Read Full Checklist.

Blue Cross expands telehealth services and coverage for COVID-19 treatment

They’re extending no-cost telehealth services to members with existing benefits through at least June 30.
Also, working with other Blue plans, Blue Cross and BCN will waive member cost-sharing for physician authorized COVID-19 testing through June 30, 2020.
See full details. 

Whitmer closes schools for remainder of the year

At a press conference Thursday, Whitmer answered those questions, suspending all face-to-face learning for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year. She signed an executive order closing all K-12 buildings the rest of the year, unless restrictions are lifted. Read more.

WEBINAR: Best and Brightest Presents: How to Motivate Yourself and Team in a Virtual Environment

Join Chip LaFleur where he will discuss strategies around best practices for remote work, how to best support your staff, manage office logistics, and care for your staff and their families in this uncertain time. Join this Friday, April 3, 2020 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM EST
Register Here. 

Trump: ‘Very tough two weeks’ coming in COVID-19 battle

In numbers updated Tuesday night, the United States has seen more than 188,000 cases and 3,873 deaths, according to numbers posted on the Johns Hopkins coronavirus dashboard. The rising numbers forced Trump on Sunday to extend the social distancing guidelines he originally recommended – which were to expire Monday – until April 30. Read more. 

Additional food assistance for Michigan families approved; SNAP work requirements also temporarily waived

Households eligible for Food Assistance Program benefits will receive additional benefits in March and April to bring all current SNAP cases to the maximum monthly allowance for that group size. Read more. 

Order clarifies unemployment benefits, adds workers who were previously ineligible

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-24, clarifying how the expansion of eligibility for unemployment benefits during the COVID-19 will work.  Read more. 

Small Business Relief Loan Fund

TCF Bank and Wayne County are working together to provide fast relief through microloans, to help small businesses with the effects of COVID-19. They are committing at least $3 million each to a new low-interest loan fund for small businesses in Wayne County to borrow money as soon as next week to sustain their operations during the coronavirus shutdowns. Read more. 

Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Questions and Answers

As provided under the legislation, the U.S. Department of Labor will be issuing implementing regulations. Additionally, as warranted, the Department will continue to provide compliance assistance to employers and employees on their responsibilities and rights under the FFCRA. Read more. 

CARES Act: Employee Benefits Implications

Congress has passed the CARES Act to help combat the impacts of COVID-19. Below is an initial summary of key employee benefits provisions. More details will be coming but we want to make you aware of these provisions and options as soon as possible. Read more.

Michigan Small Business Relief Program

The Michigan Small Business Relief Program grants are administered by 15 local and nonprofit economic development organizations (EDOs). To apply, find the EDO in the link that represents the county in which your business is located. Click on that EDO’s website for more information and to submit your application. Read more. 

DTE Energy Assistance Policies and Programs during COVID-19 Public Health Emergency

In the face of this global coronavirus pandemic, DTE is on high alert to help those customers whose
lives are being disrupted. As a result, they are taking the following measures to help ensure every one of our customers has energy during this challenging time. Read more. 

Employee Rights Paid Sick Leave and Expanded Family and Medical Leave Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA or Act) requires certain employers to provide their
employees with paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. These provisions will apply from April 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020. View details. 

How Does COBRA Coverage Work During a Pandemic?

We all know health insurance is essential during a public health emergency, and the current COVID-19 pandemic adds to the already complex considerations for employers surrounding COBRA. Today, we’ll provide answers to the question “How does COBRA work during a pandemic?” Read more.

Unemployment Insurance Agency Informational Presentation

The Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) hosted several hour-long informational seminars last week for Michigan employers regarding unemployment insurance and the recent Executive Orders 2020-09 and 2020-10 signed by Governor Gretchen Whitmer. Download the Power Point presentation. 

File for unemployment benefits between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m.

Filing online remains the fastest way for Michiganders to apply for unemployment benefits at Michigan.gov/UIA.
The Unemployment Insurance Agency urges Michiganders to file during off-peak hours to avoid longer load times. Users are asked to be patient and not click more than once to reload a page. Filing online remains the fastest way for Michiganders to apply for unemployment benefits. And filing during off-peak times is even faster.
Off-peak hours: 8 p.m. to 8 a.m.
For more information. 

Essential Business Employee Template Letter

EXECUTIVE ORDER No. 2020-21 – Temporary requirement to suspend activities that are not necessary to sustain or protect life.
Per the executive order signed by the Governor:

  • Employees must be notified if they are considered essential. That can be done verbally through March 31, and then must be put in writing: whether by electronic message, public website or other appropriate means. (added 3/24/20)
  • No essential employees need letters from their employer that they are permitted to travel to and from work, no one will be pulled over by the police and asked for documentation.

Use this template and save time. 

WEBINAR: Emergency Paid Leave & FMLA Expansion Under Families First Coronavirus Response Act

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act is set to take effect no later than April 2 and will continue to December 31, 2020, establishing paid sick leave and temporarily expanding the existing federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). This webinar will continue to evolve to include the most up to date information possible, including the DOL issued guidance. BASIC’s webinar is approved for 1.0 HRCI and 1 SHRM-CP credits for advanced professional credentials for HR professionals worldwide.
Happening Tuesday, Apr 7, 2020 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM EDT
Register here. 

WEBINAR ON DEMAND: Navigating the Cash Flow Crunch

This discussion was about the most pressing action items you should be considering to proactively manage your cash flow during COVID-19. Covered a basic understanding of cash reserves, what accounting information you need to analyze right now, payment priorities, and how you may want to begin communicating with vendors, lenders and other stakeholders. Watch now. 

Michigan.gov latest information, updates, and links

This includes the Stay-home act, FAQ, Executive Orders, contact information and more. Visit website. 

Whitmer eases restrictions on pharmacists, makes prescription refills easier

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive order allowing pharmacists to dispense emergency refills of prescriptions for up to 60 days’ worth of supply for patients, and requires insurers to cover these emergency refills during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Read More. 

How Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is responding to the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

At Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network, their top concern is the health and safety of their members. That’s why we’re using guidelines from state and federal offices to get you the information you need. List of Updates and Important information.

Oakland County extends orders to protect essential employees, businesses

The Oakland County Health Division order, which takes effect Wednesday at noon, requires businesses to develop and implement a daily screening program for all staff which includes questions about possible symptoms such as fever, cough or shortness of breath. Read more.

COVID-19 impacts Michigan port, shipping business

Sen. Gary Peters’ staff assured Corp! Magazine over the weekend that no additional Homeland Security limits are placed on maritime businesses, other than those already in effect regarding the U.S.-Canadian borders. Trade will continue. Peters is a ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. Read more. 

Whitmer closes non-critical businesses, issues ‘Stay Home, Stay Safe’ order

Citing “exponential growth” in the number of cases in Michigan and an insufficient number of tests, Whitmer announced her “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order, directing all Michigan businesses and operations to temporarily suspend in-person operations that are not necessary to sustain or protect life. Read more

Relief available for homeowners who lose income, jobs during coronavirus crisis

Last week, the Federal Housing Finance Agency directed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Enterprises) to suspend foreclosures and evictions for at least 60 days due to the coronavirus national emergency. The foreclosure and eviction suspension applies to homeowners with an Enterprise-backed single-family mortgage. Read more

Tax Deadlines Move from April to July

The tax deadlines move from the April 15th tax deadline to July 15th, per U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. Here’s what you need to know now. 

Blue Cross is waiving cost sharing for telehealth medical services

Today, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is announcing that they’ll waive cost sharing on telehealth medical services for members who have the benefit. This will be in place for members starting today at 9 a.m. Eastern time and will continue through at least April 30. Read more

Group Customer FAQ Coronavirus Coverage

The Michigan Blues joined other Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies around the nation in announcing several initiatives designed to help members get the care they need during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Blue Cross and Blue Care Network are making these changes to ensure members can access the right care during the outbreak.
Click here to view the frequently asked questions about these initiatives.

MichBusiness is seeking Employer Input
on Small Business Health Care Needs

Understanding the health care needs of MichBusiness members is important, and we are asking you to participate in a quick survey regarding health coverage for employees. Participation in the survey will help determine the health insurance needs of small businesses in Michigan. Click here to take the survey.

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