New tools give small businesses support for coronavirus relief programs

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The coronavirus has put immense economic pressure on businesses, with small ones being especially vulnerable to loss of revenue and shutdowns.

As small business owners race to submit applications to tap the recently passed federal economic stimulus package — which includes the Payroll Protection Program and Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) — many are struggling to abide by the rules and regulations put in place to qualify for the programs, since many have limited financial planning and legal resources.

That’s why Zenefits, an HR software technology company, has launched new tools for small business customers to help expedite the process to apply for both the Payroll Protection Program and the FFCRA.

“Instead of making [clients] dig through the payroll data and figure out what they should include or exclude in that application, we just went ahead and automated a report for them,” says Christian Flaten, time and pay product marketing manager at Zenefits. “It makes it a lot easier and faster for them to apply for the loan.”

The new tools include a calculator that uses the data from a customer’s past 12 months of payroll to calculate how much of a loan they could qualify for, a leave-of-absence feature employers can use to track workers’ emergency sick leave taken to remain compliant with regulation, and a COVID-19 time entry feature.

See also: Coronavirus fallout is 'big wake-up call' for small businesses

Zenefits has also introduced a tax credit feature that creates three new COVID-19 earnings types so amounts entered into these new earning types will automatically apply as a credit against all Social Security, Medicare, and federal income tax liability within the same calendar quarter.

Applying for the loans is extremely time sensitive, Flaten says, as some of it, like the Paycheck Protection Program, only goes through June 30 or when the funds dry out.

“You want to make sure people can get in there and use it while this current event is going on,” he says. “So the quicker we can enable our customers to get in there and start applying for the loan, the better. For sick time and family care, for example, people need to take that time now.”

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