NIA Informs
COVID-19 and related information for the insulation industry. Click here to read the latest online.
The Latest on the Main Street Lending Program
This week, the Federal Reserve expanded its Main Street Lending Program to allow more small and medium-sized businesses to be able to receive support. The Fed lowered the minimum loan amount, raised the maximum loan limit, adjusted the principal repayment schedule to begin after 2 years, and extended the term to 5 years, providing borrowers with greater flexibility in repaying the loans. The Fed expects the Main Street program to be open for lender registration soon and to be actively buying loans shortly afterwards. Once they have successfully registered for the program, lenders are encouraged to begin making Main Street loans immediately.

The changes include:

  • Lowering the minimum loan size for certain loans to $250,000 from $500,000;
  • Increasing the maximum loan size for all facilities;
  • Increasing the term of each loan option to 5 years, from 4 years;
  • Extending the repayment period for all loans by delaying principal payments for 2 years, instead of 1; and
  • Raising the Reserve Bank's participation to 95% for all loans.

For more information on these changes, click here.

Fed officials continue to say that they will have the program up and running in a matter of days, but they have not announced a launch date. We will continue to monitor the Federal Reserve for information and provide you with any relevant and timely updates.
Guidance Issued on Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act
The Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act was signed into law last Friday, and several sections are already being addressed. In regards to the 60% requirement, Treasury Secretary Mnuchin and SBA Administrator Carrazona responded that an employer who spends less than 60% of its loan on payroll will still be entitled to partial forgiveness. The statement reads:

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.

To read the full press statement, click here.

Yesterday, the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee held a hearing on the Implementation of Title I of the CARES Act at which both Treasury Secretary Mnuchin and SBA Administrator Carranza testified. There have been 4.5 million PPP loans totaling $511 billion–an amount significantly less than the $530 billion that had been reported on May 8th since more than $17 billion in loans have been returned. Of additional note from the hearing:

  • Secretary Mnuchin stated that information on individual PPP borrowers and loan amounts is “proprietary information and in many cases is confidential” and will not be publicly disclosed;

  • There was serious and repeated criticism of the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program, on both the agency’s inefficiency in managing the program and their arbitrary decision to cap the loans at $150,000 despite the CARES Act’s cap of $2 million per loan;

  • The PPP Flexibility Act’s extension of the PPP loan period from 8 weeks to 24 weeks “is only meant to be an option” and does not mandate that a PPP borrower wait for the 24-week period to run before applying for loan forgiveness; and

  • A borrower who uses less than 60 percent of a PPP loan on payroll is eligible for forgiveness for that portion of the loan used on payroll plus the allowable non-payroll expenses.
Unemployment Insurance during COVID-19
Yesterday, Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia testified before the Senate Finance Committee during a hearing on the role of unemployment insurance during the COVID-19 pandemic. The testimony lasted nearly 3 hours and at times became contentious when some pushed for the Department to be more aggressive on worker safety issues during the coronavirus outbreak. Committee Democrats pressed the Secretary to have the Department of Labor issue guidance on workers’ rights to refuse to return to work if they believe the work conditions are unsafe. Senator Robert Menendez took the issue further when he stated that “instead of guidance, you [the Department of Labor] should be issuing emergency temporary standards.” However, Scalia stated that issuing guidance or standards of that kind “is to a large extent a function of state law.”

Secretary Scalia additionally pushed back on whether there may be a need to extend the additional $600 weekly unemployment insurance supplement past the current July 31 expiration date. He elaborated that because the economy will be far into reopening by that date, the policy would likely need to be modified to reflect the circumstances at the time. Senator Rob Portman asked the Secretary to commit to looking into a temporary return-to-work bonus as an alternative to the $600 supplemental, which Scalia agreed to do.

View a recording of the hearing here.
OSHA Issues FAQs about Face Coverings, Masks, and Respirators

OSHA has published a series of frequently asked questions and answers regarding the use of masks in the workplace.

“As our economy reopens for business, millions of Americans will be wearing masks in their workplace for the first time,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health Loren Sweatt. “OSHA is ready to help workers and employers understand how to properly use masks so they can stay safe and healthy in the workplace.”

These frequently asked questions and answers mark the latest guidance from OSHA addressing protective measures for workplaces during the coronavirus pandemic. Previously, OSHA published numerous guidance documents for workers and employers, available at www.osha.gov/SLTC/covid-19 , including 5 guidance documents aimed at expanding the availability of respirators and recommends following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidance on washing face coverings .

For further information and resources about the coronavirus disease, please visit OSHA’s  coronavirus webpage .
Resource: One Free Call with Legal Counsel
For NIA Member Companies on Any Safety Topic
Now through August 31
In the spirit of aiding all of our members during this critical time, NIA Legal Counsel Gary Auman, of Auman, Mahan & Furry, has offered to respond to 1 safety matter question, per NIA member, via telephone call or email. Thank you, Gary, for your generosity and your safety expertise.

Contact Auman, Mahan & Furry at 937-223-6003.
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