- Allow sole proprietors, independent contractors, and self-employed individuals to receive more financial support by revising the PPP’s funding formula for these categories of applicants;
- Eliminate an exclusionary restriction on PPP access for small business owners with prior non-fraud felony convictions, consistent with a bipartisan congressional proposal;
- Eliminate PPP access restrictions on small business owners who have struggled to make student loan payments by eliminating student loan debt delinquency as a disqualifier to participating in the PPP; and
- Ensure access for non-citizen small business owners who are lawful U.S. residents by clarifying that they may use Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) to apply for the PPP.
Before yesterday, there was a schedule of when different industries or types of employees would be eligible to receive their vaccines. However, the Governor and his council changed those rules. Going forward you will be eligible to receive a vaccine based ONLY ON YOUR AGE and not what kind of job you have.
This is VERY good news for employers. You no longer have to worry about scheduling your employees, filling out forms or anything to do with the vaccination of your employees. This is good because, unless you are in healthcare, you are not in the business of vaccinating people. It is now the responsibility of each of your employees to know when they are eligible and then to schedule their own appointments.
As an employer you have the right to ask each of your employees if they have received the vaccination and to provide you proof of such vaccination. Please keep these in a confidential file. And be super careful not to ask any other questions like…. Why have you not gotten your vaccine? Do you have a medical condition?
Should you mandate the vaccine in your workplace? We have not heard from a single pro-employer lawyer or HR professional that mandating the vaccine is a good idea. There are many reasons for this as we have explained in previous blogs. But work morale and liability issues are the most important. Strongly encouraging and using a reward system to get your employees to be compliant are the best solutions that do not leave you vulnerable for liability issues. Give them a day off with pay to get the shot, give them a small bonus or gift card, or any other positive reinforcements.
The best guess for when everyone will have access to the vaccine will be about July 1. You will not be able to enforce any kind of requirement until at least that time. You cannot enforce a vaccine that they do not have access to. We will keep you up to date on this.
So who can get it? The schedule is below. The old rules before yesterday of front line workers or people in certain industries is dust in the wind. They no longer apply. The schedule is by age only. This was seen as the most fair and easy to police strategy. If you have been planning for your essential workers, this may be frustrating, but in the end it will be much easier for you (no more registering eligible employees or scheduling them) and will leave you less liable.
The state is continuing to vaccinate individuals aged 65 or older and those in congregate facilities.
- Beginning March 1, individuals aged 55-64 will be eligible to schedule vaccinations
- Ages 45-54 will tentatively open March 22
- Age 35-44 will tentatively open April 12
- Other age brackets: May 3 (tentative)
In 2020, many people joined the gig economy to help make ends meet during the pandemic. Whether it’s a side business or a primary source of income, all taxpayers need to understand how their gig work affects their taxes. The bottom line is taxpayers must report gig economy income on their tax return.
Here’s a quick overview of the gig economy:
The gig economy is also referred to as the on-demand, sharing or access economy. People involved in the gig economy earn income as a freelancer, independent worker or employee. They use technology known as online platforms to connect them with customers to provide goods or services. This includes things like renting out a home or spare bedroom and providing delivery services.
Here are some things taxpayers should know about the gig economy and taxes:
• Money earned through this work is usually taxable.
• There are tax implications for both the company providing the platform and the individual performing the services.
• This income is usually taxable even if the:
– Taxpayer providing the service doesn’t receive an information return, like a Form 1099-NEC, Form 1099-MISC, Form 1099-K, or Form W-2.
– Activity is only part-time or side work.
– Taxpayer is paid in cash.
• People working in the gig economy are generally required to pay:
– Income taxes.
– Federal Insurance Contribution Act or Self-Employment Contribution Act tax.
– Additional Medicare taxes.
• Independent contractors may be able to deduct business expenses. These taxpayers should double check the rules around deducting expenses related to use of things like their car or house. They should remember to keep records of their business expenses.
• Special rules usually apply to rental property also used as a residence during the tax year. Taxpayers should remember that rental income is generally fully taxable.
• Workers who do not have taxes withheld from their pay have two ways to pay their taxes in advance. Here are these two options:
– Gig economy workers who have another job where their employer withholds taxes from their paycheck can fill out and submit a new Form W-4. The employee does this to request that the other employer withholds additional taxes from their paycheck. This additional withholding can help cover the taxes owed from their gig economy work.
– The gig economy worker can make quarterly estimated tax payments. They do this to pay their taxes and any self-employment taxes owed throughout the year.
For more information on the gig economy, taxpayers can visit the Gig Economy Tax Center.
The new guidance applies to industries outside of healthcare. OSHA previously issued separate guidance applicable to healthcare and emergency response. “The guidance does not create any new legal requirements or obligations, but is advisory only. OSHA intends for the guidance to assist employers with planning.”
OSHA’s recommendations include:
- Assignment of a workplace coordinator responsible for COVID-19 issues.
- Identification of where and how workers might be exposed to COVID-19 at work.
- Identification of a combination of measures that will limit the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace based on a hierarchy of controls.
- Consideration of protections for workers at higher risk for severe illness.
- Establishment of a system for effective communications in a language that all workers understand.
- Education and training workers on company COVID-19 policies and practices.
- Instructing infected or potentially infected workers to stay home and isolate or quarantine to prevent or reduce the risk of future transmission.
- Minimizing the negative impact of quarantine and isolation on workers.
- Immediately isolating workers who display symptoms at work.
- Performing enhanced cleaning and disinfection after people with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 have been in the facility.
- Providing guidance on screening and testing.
- Recording and reporting COVID-19 infections and deaths.
- Implementing protections from retaliation and setting up an anonymous process for workers to voice concerns about COVID-19 related hazards.
- Making a COVID-19 vaccination program or informational series at no cost to all eligible employees.
- Not distinguishing between workers who are vaccinated and those who are not.
- Consideration of other applicable OSHA Standards that apply to protecting workers from infection.
The new guidance contains additional detail in implementing OSHA’s recommendations.
As of February 16 the reopening guidelines for performing arts venues and other venues have changed allowing them to have guests up to 50% of their capacity and allow them to sell concessions. Although these are changes in the right direction, our venues will continue to see hardships in the coming year. We encourage everyone to support your local venue in any way you can. Make a donation, buy an advance ticket, volunteer.
Here are the latest updated guidelines. Changes are written in red. We will continue to keep you informed of any additional changes.
You can find the official guidelines HERE.
This is a summary of the updates to the Connecticut public health guidance and reopening rules regarding organized sports and other athletic activities. Please note that beginning on January 19, 2021, the Team Sports on Pause will no longer be effective. These rules are subject to the continued stability in COVID-19 metrics. Athletes, coaches, and businesses should continue to regularly monitor the latest Department of Public Health (DPH) Guidance and Sector Rules for Reopening.
This guidance applies to the 2021 winter sports season (Jan. 19 – Mar. 15). Given the dynamic nature of the pandemic, this guidance may be revised prior to the end of the season. DPH and DECD will continue to monitor pandemic metrics and will issue updated guidance for the spring sports season on or before March 1, 2021.
- Low and Moderate Risk sports (basketball, ice hockey, gymnastics, indoor track, swimming, etc.):
- Practices can begin on January 19, 2021
- Competitions can begin February 1, 2021
- Masks are required in Gyms, Fitness Centers, and during Indoor and Outdoor Sports by all participants, spectators, and coaches at all times, including active play.
- However. where the nature of play is such that two or more athletes would not be expected to have any close contact (i.e., tennis singles, individual running on a track, etc.), athletes are not required to wear face coverings during the activity, although masks are still strongly encouraged (face coverings should still be worn at all times by individuals not engaged in the activity).
- Only the necessary number of adults to hold practices and competitions shall attend, including no more than 1 parent/guardian per youth athlete, so long as the venue allows for 6 ft of social distancing of spectators, who must maintain social distancing and wear face coverings throughout the activity. Adult club/recreational sports, with participants who are aged 21 years and older, shall not have spectators.
- League organizers and teams must cooperate with contact tracing efforts by state and local health officials. If league organizers and teams fail to cooperate, state or local health officials may discontinue a team or league’s sports activities.
What is prohibited:
- Participation in High Risk Sports (other than conditioning/non-contact drills).
- Participation in any out-of-state team activities—practices (including conditioning), competitions, camps, clinics and tournaments by CT residents—or any interstate activities.
- However, if an out-of-state resident is a member of a Connecticut team, then they can engage in that team’s activities as allowed by these rules.
- Furthermore, if a Connecticut resident is a member of an out-of-state team, then they can engage in that team’s activities as allowed by these rules.
- Large, traditional multi-school/multi-team (more than two) sporting events.
- In-person road races should be postponed until March 1, 2021, subject to COVID-19 metrics.
What is allowed:
- Practices for Moderate and Lower risk sports, beginning no earlier than January 19, 2021. This includes group aerobic conditioning, sport-specific non-contact skill development drills, team practices and/or intra-squad scrimmages.
- In-state competition of interscholastic, club and recreation Moderate and Lower risk sports, beginning no earlier than February 1, 2021, subject to the continued stability of COVID-19 metrics.
- Outdoor Recreational Activities (subject to the Sector Rules for Reopening)
- School Physical Education Classes (subject to State Department of Education Guidance)
- Gyms, Group Fitness Classes, Dance Studios, Yoga, Martial Arts Instruction, etc.
- Recreational lap swimming is limited to one person per lane unless swimmers are from the same household, or a swimmer with special needs requires a paraprofessional in the same lane with them. Lanes must be a minimum of 6 ft wide. Advance registration for recreational lap swimming is encouraged.
- Swim teams can have up to 4 swimmers per lane during practice and pre-match warm up periods, provided:
- Cohorts consisting of up to 4 swimmers that will use the same lane at the same time are constant throughout the entire season.
- Swimmers are engaged in continuous swimming while using the same lane (i.e. the group isn’t gathered at one end of the lane without masks during break periods or to receive coaching).
- Swimmers remain maximally spaced to the extent possible during active swimming (i.e. pair swimmers of similar skill level/speed to the extent possible).
- Pool deck observers are discouraged. If parent/guardians are necessary, only one per swimmer is allowed, they must wear a mask, and remain at least 6 ft apart.
- For swim lessons, students should be instructed in the water one-on-one with the swim instructor and should remain out of the water, standing or seated on the pool deck with a mask in place and separated by 6 ft or more distance while they wait for their turn with the instructor. While this process is encouraged for all age and skill levels, for beginner swim lessons (children 5 yrs or younger) where controlling the attention and movement of students may be difficult, students can remain in the water or seated on the edge of the pool for the duration of the lesson period without masks, provided that:
- The size of the class group is limited to 4 or fewer participants
- Students remain separated by 6 ft or more at all times
- Appropriate spacing is clearly marked and understandable by students (i.e. cones or dots rather than a worded sign)
- Students keep masks in place prior to the beginning and immediately after the end of the lesson period
- Swim aerobic participants should maintain distance of 12 ft throughout class or utilize every other lane.
- First Responder Lifeguard Certification
- Classroom portions of the certification process should be conducted either virtually (preferred) or if conducted in-person, should include seat spacing of at least 6 feet between participants and masks (that completely cover the nose and mouth) worn at all times.
- Instructors should “pair” participants together for the purposes of practical (hands-on) training activities that require two participants to be in close contact (e.g. team CPR, rescue activities, etc.). Participant pairings should be constant throughout the duration of the certification course. For practical training activities that require more than 2 participants (e.g. deep water rescue, back boarding, etc.) pairings may be combined to form a group of 4 (maximum), and those combined pairing should also be kept constant. The same combined pairing (4 participants) should be maintained for shared-lane lap swimming.
- “Dry land” training activities (i.e. occurring on a pool deck area) should maintain 6 ft. spacing between participants and masks should be worn at all times. Group “dry land” training activities should be performed with as few group members as required to safely complete the activity (up to 4 max.) and close contact should be time-limited to the extent possible.
- Masks should not be worn during “in-water” training activities. Group “in-water” training activities should be performed with as few group members as required to safely complete the activity (up to 4 max.) and close contact should be time-limited to the extent possible.