Flexibility Act Gives Options
With the passage of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Flexibility Act by Congress, the US Small Business Administration has announced it will promptly issue rules and guidance to implement them, including a modified borrower application form, and a modified loan forgiveness application.
The modifications will implement the following important changes:
Extend the covered period for loan forgiveness from eight weeks after the date of loan disbursement to 24 weeks after the date of loan disbursement, providing substantially greater flexibility for borrowers to qualify for loan forgiveness. Borrowers who have already received PPP loans retain the option to use an eight-week covered period.
* Lower the requirements that 75 percent of a borrower’s loan proceeds must be used for payroll costs and that 75% of the loan forgiveness amount must have been spent on payroll costs during the 24-week loan forgiveness covered period to 60 percent for each of these requirements. If a borrower uses less than 60 percent of the loan amount for payroll costs during the forgiveness covered
period, the borrower will continue to be eligible for partial loan forgiveness, subject to at least 60 percent of the loan forgiveness amount having been used for payroll costs.
* Provide a safe harbor from reductions in loan forgiveness based on reductions in full-time equivalent employees for borrowers that are unable to return to the same level of business activity the business was operating at before February 15, 2020, due to compliance with requirements or guidance issued between March 1, 2020 and December 31, 2020 by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration related to worker or customer safety requirements related to COVID–19.
* Provide a safe harbor from reductions in loan forgiveness based on reductions in full-time equivalent employees, to provide protections for borrowers that are both unable to rehire individuals who were employees of the borrower on February 15, 2020, and unable to hire similarly qualified employees for unfilled positions by December 31, 2020.
* Increase to five years the maturity of PPP loans that are approved by SBA (based on the date SBA assigns a loan number) on or after June 5, 2020.
* Extend the deferral period for borrower payments of principal, interest, and fees on PPP loans to the date that SBA remits the borrower’s loan forgiveness amount to the lender
* In addition, the new rules will confirm that June 30, 2020, remains the last date on which a PPP loan application can be approved.
SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin said, “We want to thank President Trump for his leadership and commend Leader McConnell, Leader Schumer, Speaker Pelosi, and Leader McCarthy for working on a bipartisan basis to pass this legislation for small businesses participating in the Paycheck Protection Program.
“This bill will provide businesses with more time and flexibility to keep their employees on the payroll and ensure their continued operations as we safely reopen our country.”