On June 5, 2020, the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020 (“PPP Flex”) was signed into law. PPP Flex was designed to limit some of the restrictions and provide clarification for the original Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”).
Notably, PPP Flex grants borrowers additional time to incur costs that count towards PPP loan forgiveness, reduces the portion of cost that must be allocated to payroll cost, and provides additional exemption from the Coronavirus Aid Relief, and Economic Security Act (the CARES Act”), the legislation that authorized PPP.
The CARES Act provides that some or all of the borrower’s PPP loan maybe forgiven based on the cost and payments made during what is called the “Cover Period.” The Cover Period begins when the PPP loan is disbursed or, if the borrower elects, from the start of the first regular payroll after the PPP loan is first disbursed. The Cover Period was originally set to be eight (8) weeks; however, under the PPP Flex, the Cover Period may be extended to the earlier of twenty-four (24) weeks after the loan origination or December 31, 2020. Nothing precludes an existing PPP loan borrower from using the original 8-week Cover Period. Under PPP Flex, the percentage that the borrower must use for payroll costs to be eligible for forgiveness was reduced. With the SBA’s final interim rule setting the percentage at 75%, legislators have reduced the amount to 60%, such that now 40% of the loan may be used (during the Cover Period) for certain permitted non-payroll costs such as mortgage interest, rent and utilities. PPP Flex also extends the original 6-month deferral period to up to 10 months after the applicable Covered Period, and extends the maturity date of unforgiven portions of the loans to five (5) years from the date of the forgiveness application.
Additionally, PPP Flex adds a new exemption from full-time equivalent employees. A borrower’s PPP loan forgiveness will not be reduced by full-time equivalent employees reduction if the borrower is able to document that either (i) the borrower was unable to rehire individuals who were employed as of February 15, 2020 and unable to hire similarly qualified employees for unfilled positions on or before December 31, 2020, or (ii) the borrower was unable to return to the same level of business activity commensurate with business activity level as of February 15, 2020 due COVID-19. PPP Flex now also permits borrowers to use the CARES Act’s payroll tax deferral provisions regardless having received a PPP loan and applying for forgiveness.
Jacklyn Fetbroyt is a founding member of Kang Haggerty & Fetbroyt LLC and is currently a committeeperson of the Voorhees Township Committee. Among other things, Jackie focuses on counseling companies and business owners through all stages of their ventures from conception to dissolution, assisting her business clients in all of their needs for maintenance and growth. On Township Committee, Jackie strives to be a resource to and ears of the residents in her hometown.
In this ever-changing landscape of information and legislation, please be aware that the information contained in this blog post may no longer be relevant or applicable. The content of this post is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinion.