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Here’s An Incentive for Small Businesses to Keep Employees During the COVID-19 Crisis

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has a program called Paycheck Protection, which helps small businesses retain employees when they’re going through a financial crisis.

The program works as an incentive for eligible businesses. They may apply for a loan of up to $10 million for payroll and other expenses.

If all employees are kept on payroll for eight weeks, SBA will forgive the portion of the loans used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities. Up to 100 percent of the loan is forgivable.

Businesses – including eligible non-profits, Veterans organizations, Tribal concerns, sole proprietorships, self-employed individuals, and independent contractors described in the Small Business Act – with 500 or fewer employees may apply.

Businesses in certain industries may have more than 500 employees if they meet the SBA’s size standards for those industries.

Senator Marco Rubio’s office released an FAQ guide for the Paycheck Protection Program. An excerpt (PDF):

Who is eligible for the loan?

You are eligible for a loan if you are a small business that employs 500 employees or fewer, or if your business is in an industry that has an employee-based size standard through SBA that is higher than 500 employees. In addition, if you are a restaurant, hotel, or a business that falls within the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code 72, “Accommodation and Food Services,” and each of your locations has 500 employees or fewer, you are eligible. Tribal businesses, 501(c)(19) veteran organizations, and 501(c)(3) nonprofits, including religious organizations, will be eligible for the program. Nonprofit organizations are subject to SBA’s affiliation standards. Independently owned franchises with under 500 employees, who are approved by SBA, are also eligible. Eligible franchises can be found through SBA’s Franchise Directory.

I am an independent contractor or gig economy worker, am I eligible?

Yes. Sole proprietors, independent contractors, gig economy workers, and self-employed individuals are all eligible for the Paycheck Protection Program.

See the program’s page for more resources.

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