Department of Labor’s Updated Regulations for FFCRA

Lauren L. Wood

By Lauren L. Wood



The Department of Labor (DOL) published new guidelines on September 16, 2020 that revise and clarify portions of the Families First Coronavirus Relief Act (FFCRA). The new guidelines were issued following a ruling by a New York District Court that declared certain previously issued regulations invalid. These updated regulations relate to the following:

  • The requirement of “work availability,”
  • The requirement of employer approval for FFCRA leave to be intermittent,
  • The definition of “health care provider,” and
  • Requirements for notice and documentation.

The new regulations went into effect at the time they were published and will remain in effect until December 31, 2020 when the FFCRA is set to expire.

Work Availability Requirement

The DOL clarified that the work availability requirement applies to all qualifying reasons to take leave under the FFCRA. Thus, the leave may only be taken if the employer has work for the employee. The qualifying reason must be the actual reason the employee is unable to work, rather than not having work to do regardless of whether the qualifying reason occurs. Previously, the work availability requirement was only explicitly applicable to three of the six possible qualifying reasons for leave.

Intermittent Leave Requires Employer Approval Continue reading »

Changes to the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act and Claims for Punitive Damages

Steven Ahillen

By Steven Ahillen



Governor Mike Parson recently signed Missouri SB 591, which brings significant changes to the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act (MMPA) and claims for punitive damages. The statute also adds new evidentiary and pleading requirements that will make it more difficult to prevail on a claim under the MMPA and to obtain punitive damages generally. The changes apply to lawsuits filed on or after August 28, 2020.

Changes to the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act

The MMPA (Section 407.010 RSMo., et seq.) is a broad consumer protection statute designed to safeguard the public against dishonest business practices. Under the MMPA, it is unlawful to engage in any deception, fraud, misrepresentation, or unfair practice in connection with the sale or advertisement of any merchandise in commerce, or solicitation of funds for a charitable purpose. While the act charges the attorney general to police the marketplace, it also provides for a private cause of action for those who have been victimized. Attorneys’ fees are recoverable under the statute, and it has proven to be a popular tool in suits against businesses. However, SB 591 adds several new requirements that a plaintiff must satisfy to prevail on an MMPA claim.

  • Reasonableness is Required

Continue reading »

Temporary Residential Eviction Moratorium Order from the CDC and HHS Announced

Hannah E. Mudd

By Hannah E. Mudd



The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued an Agency Order effective September 4, 2020 announcing a temporary moratorium on residential evictions in attempts to limit the spread of COVID-19. The agency order was issued shortly after the White House announced an order barring evictions for renters would likely be issued as negotiations in Congress for renewal of CARES Act provisions have stalled.

The order is effective through December 31, 2020 and goes further than previous moratorium measures outlined in the CARES Act based on the number of citizens who could seek help if circumstances so require. In support of this measure, the CDC and HHS cited that eviction moratorium-like measures enable members of the public to have shelter in which to quarantine, isolate, and practice social distancing resulting in an effective and beneficial public health measure to prevent the rampant spread of COVID-19.

Under the order, a landlord, owner of residential property, or ‘other person’ with legal rights to pursue evictions or a possessory action (“landlord”) is not permitted to evict a ‘covered person’ (“tenant”) from a residential property[1] until the order expires at the end of the year. Therefore, almost any person or entity who leases a residential property to another must comply with the order. (Note: ‘Covered person’ includes any tenant, lessee, or resident of residential property. ‘Other person’ includes corporations, companies, associations, firms, partnerships, societies, and joint stock companies, as well as individuals.) Continue reading »

August 2020 Federal and State Extensions of Foreclosures and Eviction Moratoriums

Hannah E. Mudd

By Hannah E. Mudd



The Federal Housing Administration (“FHA”) announced another extension of its foreclosure and eviction moratorium through December 31, 2020 for homeowners with an FHA-insured single-family mortgage covered under the CARES Act.

This extension means the FHA has now provided more than nine months of foreclosure and eviction relief to FHA-insured homeowners. As this is a continuation of the moratorium put in place in March of this year, the protections continue to apply to homeowners with FHA-insured Title II Single Family forward and Home Equity Conversion (“reverse”) mortgages.

As a refresher, the moratorium requires mortgage servicers to:

  1. Halt all new foreclosure actions and suspend all foreclosure actions currently in process for FHA-insured single-family properties, excluding legally vacant or abandoned properties; and
  2. Cease all evictions of persons from FHA-insured single-family properties, excluding actions to evict occupants of legally vacant or abandoned properties.

According to HUD, “homeowners with FHA-insured mortgages should continue to make their mortgage payments during the foreclosure and eviction moratorium if they are able to do so, or seek mortgage payment forbearance pursuant to the CARES Act from their mortgage servicer, if needed.”

Under the CARES Act: Continue reading »

Guidance Released on Deferring Employee Social Security Taxes

Hannah E. Mudd

By Hannah E. Mudd



The IRS released guidance for employers regarding President Trump’s August 8, 2020 memorandum on withholding, deposit, and payment of employee Social Security taxes for the period of September 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020. Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin has since confirmed the deferral as voluntary and that employers may choose to continue to withhold and deposit employee Social Security taxes under the normal schedule.

The guidance clarifies that employees eligible for deferral are those with wages (for FICA purposes) of less than $4,000 per bi-weekly pay period or an equivalent amount for other pay periods. The deferral of eligibility determination must be made on a payroll-by-payroll basis. Any compensation not considered wages for FICA purposes does not count when making the determination of eligibility. It is also important to remember that ‘wages’ considered are not based on gross pay but are based on the amount of wages after nontaxable deductions. Continue reading »

Deadline Extended for Main Street Lending Program Loans

Hannah E. Mudd

By Hannah E. Mudd



The Federal Reserve’s Main Street Lending Program (MSLP) recently expanded to include two new loans specifically for nonprofit organizations. In addition to this further explanation, all the loan facilities offered under MSLP received a deadline extension.

Now all five facilities will see the SPV cease making purchases of participations in Eligible Loans after December 31, 2020. Of course, this is subject to change should the Federal Reserve and Department of the Treasury decide it is necessary to extend the facilities.

All our blog posts on this topic have been updated (see below) and term sheets and forms are available at Continue reading »

Loan Relief for Nonprofit Organizations Through the Main Street Lending Program Expansion

Hannah E. Mudd

By Hannah E. Mudd



The Federal Reserve’s Main Street Lending Program (MSLP) has expanded to include two new loans specifically for nonprofit organizations: The Nonprofit Organization New Loan Facility (“NONLF”) and the Nonprofit Organization Expanded Loan Facility (“NOELF”). Nonprofit organizations will now be able to receive support from relief efforts similar to those available to for-profit entities. Many of the basic eligibility, certification, and fees track those already in place for for-profit counterparts.

How the Program Will Operate:nonlf loan noelf loan

  • Nonprofit organizations can access the Loan Participation Agreement form, borrower and lender certifications and covenants, and other required form agreements on the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston’s Main Street Lending Program Forms and Agreements website.
  • Lenders are encouraged to begin making loans immediately upon successful registration.
  • The NONLF and NOELF Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) will purchase 95% of each eligible loan submitted if the required documentation is complete and transactions meet the relevant program facility’s requirements.

Program Definitions NONLF and NOELF Loans:

  • Eligible Lenders – The same eligible lenders provided for for-profit MSLP facilities.
  • Eligible Borrowers – Eligible Borrowers are nonprofit organizations:
    • Created or organized in the U.S. or under the laws of the U.S. with significant operations in the U.S. and a majority of its employees are based in the U.S.;
    • In continuous operation since January 1, 2015;
    • That are not an ineligible business[i];
    • With fewer than 15,000 employees or $5 billion or less in 2019 annual revenues;
    • With a minimum of 10 employees;
    • With an endowment under $3 billion;
    • With total non-donation revenues of at least 60% of expenses from 2017-2019[ii];
    • With a ratio of adjusted 2019 earnings of at least 2% before interest, depreciation, and amortization (EBIDA) to unrestricted 2019 operating revenue[iii];
    • With a ratio of at least 60 days of liquid assets[iv] at the time of loan origination to average daily expenses over the previous year;
    • With, at the time of origination, a ratio greater than 55% of unrestricted cash and investments to existing outstanding and undrawn available debt, plus the amount of any under the Facility, plus the amount of any CMS Accelerated and Advance Payments;
    • That are not a participant in another MSLP facility or the Primary Market Corporate Credit Facility; and
    • Have not received specific support under the Coronavirus Economic Stabilization Act of 2020 (Subtitle A of Title IV of the CARES Act).

Continue reading »

Missouri Offers Additional COVID-19 Relief Grants for Small Business and Family-Owned Farms

Hannah E. Mudd

By Hannah E. Mudd



The Missouri Department of Economic Development (DED) has provided guidance on how to apply for the Small Business Grant Program as added by the CARES Act and House Bill 2007. The grants seek to provide support to small businesses and family-owned farms by reimbursing the costs of business interruptions caused by required COVID-19 closures.

DED kicked off the grant program by focusing on hardest hit industries: retail trade, accommodation, food service, health care, and family-owned farms. Applications for these industries are being accepted until August 31, 2020. Businesses in other industries may apply on or after September 1, 2020 if funds are still available.

While all a business or farm’s expenses may not be covered, or total reimbursement may not be possible, depending on funding available, the grant program provides another excellent option for COVID-19-related relief.

Program Basics:

The Missouri grant program is statewide with the total funds available set at $30 million, Of this, $7.5 million is specifically available for family-owned farms and family farm corporations.[i] Each applicant may only file one grant application. Hopeful applicants must incur, or have incurred, COVID-related costs between March 1, 2020 – November 15, 2020. Continue reading »

Missouri Employers and Medical Marijuana: What You Need to Know – On-Demand Webinar

Katherine M. Flett

By Katherine M. Flett



co-presented by Katherine M. Flett and Ruth Binger

Ruth Binger and Katherine Flett presented a webinar on what Missouri employers need to know about medical marijuana in the workplace.

Missouri Employers and Medical Marijuana – What You Need to Know,” a Facebook Live webinar, was part of the Greater St. Charles County Chamber of Commerce‘s Chamber University.

Topics included: Continue reading »

Keeping Your Business in Business During COVID-19: On-Demand Webinar

Katherine M. Flett

By Katherine M. Flett



co-presented by Katherine M. Flett and Ruth Binger

Ruth Binger and Katherine Flett presented a webinar on keeping your business in business, which included employment and business strategies during the pandemic.

Maintaining a Legally Compliant Work Environment and Navigating the ‘New’ Workplace in the Face of COVID-19,” a Facebook Live webinar, was part of the Greater St. Charles County Chamber of Commerce‘s Chamber University.

Topics included: Continue reading »