EXECUTIVE BRANCH

FPLG COVID-19 RESPONSE

EXECUTIVE BRANCH

[UPDATE: May 3, 2020]

The Executive Branch lacks a coherent or consistent message or policy concerning the COVID-19 crisis. The White House’s Coronavirus Guidelines for America: 30 Days To Stop the Spread (March 31, 2020) has expired; they were not mandatory in any event. In addition, much of the decision-making has been taken up by the states.

The emergency federal legislation enacted over a series of weeks since March leaves a great deal of interpretation and operational discretion to the federal administrative agencies including the Treasury Department, the Small Business Administration, and others. There were difficult roll-outs for many of the programs including most notably the Payroll Protection Program (PPP); funds were distributed unevenly and they ran out quickly.

**********

[April 1, 2020]

The President and the federal executive departments and agencies issue regulations, rules, and guidelines either to carry out the Administration’s policies or to implement laws enacted by Congress.

In Coronavirus Guidelines for America (March 31, 2020), the White House issued its most recent “guidelines”: – 30 Days to Stop the Spread. These are not mandatory; the states and local governments have the authority to determine restrictions and limitations on activities. “Listen to and follow the directions of your state and local authorities.” They are also less restrictive than the stay-at-home orders of the California governor and of many other states. For instance, the White House guideline advises: “Avoid social gatherings in groups of more than 10 people.”

There are almost 100 executive departments and agencies that have some responsibility for aspects of the effort to combat the coronavirus. See Federal Agencies Responding to Coronavirus (COVID-19). The references listed here are just a few of the staggering number: already in existence, updated recently to cover COVID-19, or what will be a deluge of regulations, rules, and guidance on the major legislation just passed by Congress.

In some cases, they also overlap rules and guidance from state or local health agencies, labor departments, or other regulatory bodies.

[We’ll include some of these and other references in specific topic areas at other parts of this micro-site.]

Contact FPLG (619) 780.3839

The Labor Department issued late-night guidance to the states (UIPL 18-20) that can only be described as breathtakingly cruel in its impact on charitable nonprofits, their current employees, and the communities they serve. DOL guidance issued late on April 27 instructs states to bill certain tax-exempt employers immediately for 100 percent of the costs of unemployment benefits paid to employees laid off as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

— National Council of Nonprofits  (4/28/20)

This guidance is not a standard or regulation, and it creates no new legal obligations. It contains recommendations as well as descriptions of mandatory safety and health standards. The recommendations are advisory in nature, informational in content, and are intended to assist employers in providing a safe and healthful workplace.

OSHA Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19 

REFERENCES & RESOURCES

GO TO – STATE OF CALIFORNIA

Remote-Work Costs: Must Nonprofit Reimburse?

[June 5, 2020] Among the many adjustments that employers - including nonprofits - have had to make during the COVID-19 pandemic is the abrupt switch to remote work for some or all of their employees. That includes making sure that everyone in the workforce has needed hardware, software, and internet and phone connectivity.  California is among the jurisdictions that initiated early and mandatory stay-at-home orders for a large portion of the population and economy. There [...]

Filing Deadlines Extended for Nonprofit Organizations

[April 24, 2020] By the third week of March 2020, governments at all levels had begun to respond to the many questions and issues raised by the COVID-19 emergency, including - most notably - the curtailment or suspension of operations and activities by individuals and entities on account of new stay-at-home orders  and recommendations.  The necessary federal emergency declaration under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Act was made in mid-March. The [...]

UPDATE: The CARES Act and Nonprofits

[March 27, 2020] The third prong of the Congressional response to the COVID-19 pandemic - the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) (S. 747) - is now before the House of Representatives, having passed the Senate on Wednesday. The House is expected to approve it today with overwhelming support; voting is expected to begin shortly.  It could be signed at the White House and in effect before the end of this weekend. [...]

Some Good News: Funders are Stepping Up

Ten days ago, we posted Funders Must Step Up - Right Now! (March 16, 2020).   That same morning, influential blogger Vu Le had posted Funders, this is the rainy day you have been saving up for. Mr. Le has long been a vocal critic of many foundations’ viewing the five percent payout figure in the tax code as a ceiling instead of what it is: a floor.  During that week, as most of us were [...]

Nonprofit Board Meetings in an Emergency

The devastating pandemic has brought sudden and profound challenges for all of us.  In What Nonprofit Board Members Should Be Doing Right Now to Address the COVID-19 Situation, (March 16, 2020), the experts from BoardSource write:  “As the world responds to the threats of COVID-19, many nonprofits and their boards are wrestling with difficult questions and decisions.”  A rewrite of that sentence may be in order; every nonprofit and its board is flying blind in [...]

The Charitable Sector: COVID-19 Relief and Economic Stimulus Package

America's charities request $60 billion infusion of support to help the most vulnerable March 18, 2020 The COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic facing the country is having a profound impact on the economy and has greatly expanded the need for charitable organizations to provide additional services in an unprecedented manner. At the same time, the economic downturn will undoubtedly result in a contraction in contributions and other sources of revenue which are the lifeblood of many charitable [...]

Coronavirus and Nonprofits: Challenges & Resources

What a difference a week makes. Last week, the news media focused on the minutiae of the primary-election horse race. This week, Americans have been forced to confront the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. For the nonprofit sector, the emergency becomes a double-barreled crisis: we are both victims and saviors. This is not an unfamiliar conundrum; there are frequent natural disasters that devastate one area or another. This nation’s charitable organizations - and, in particular, the social [...]

Funders Must Step Up – Right Now!

“Funders,” writes nonprofit blogger Vu Le, “this is the rainy day you have been saving up for.”  Recently, we wrote about Mr. Le’s earlier plea for America’s foundations to step up their payouts beyond the “five percent rule” in the federal tax code. In an article last summer, he characterized it as a moral imperative: The ethical argument for foundations to increase their annual payout rate beyond 5% (August 4, 2019). This morning, it’s a [...]

Small Business Association Disaster Loan Guidance and Resources

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has an existing program, the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, that extends disaster relief loans to small businesses, including nonprofits, to help alleviate economic injury caused by disasters.  On Thursday, March 12, 2020, the SBA announced that the program will be available to claims arising from COVID-19.  The SBA will work with state officials to offer loans of up to $2 million.  “These loans may be used to pay [...]