During this rapidly evolving crisis, GAMA is here to support you and your business with information, networking, and advocacy. The COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented and will continue to require many changes to our normal routines and business practices.
GAMA would like to share with you the steps we are taking as an association to help support our members during this difficult time.
The federal law mandates employers provide for paid sick leave (up to 10 days) and expands the Family and Medical Leave Act for up to 10 weeks. The cost of all paid sick, family, and medical leave incurred under the new law
will be reimbursed to companies via payroll tax credits. Small businesses with fewer than 50 employees may qualify for exemption from the requirement to provide leave due to school closings or childcare unavailability if the leave requirements
would jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern.
Where cost to provide the leave is greater than payroll taxes, the IRS will send a check to the employer to cover the costs. Please note that health insurance costs are also included
in the credit, employers face no payroll tax liability and self-employed individuals receive an equivalent credit.
- Federal CARES ACT Implemented to Support Small Businesses - On March 27, H.R. 748 Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), a $2 trillion stimulus package designed to provide aid to states, industry and workers during the coronavirus outbreak was enacted into law. Among the key features of this law are a $349 billion are:
- The Paycheck Protection Program, which authorizes the Small Business Administration (SBA) to provide forgivable loans to small businesses to use for payroll expenses, such as employee salaries, paid sick or medical leave, insurance premiums, and mortgage, rent, and utility payments. The loan forgiveness option is structured to incentivize employers to keep their employees on the payroll. The amount of paycheck protection loans that will be forgiven will be reduced proportionally by any reduction in the employees or significant reduction in employee pay.
- Provides for an Employee Retention Credit, a refundable payroll tax credit worth 50 percent of employee wages paid during the COVID-19 emergency.
- Allows employers and self-employed individuals to defer payment of the employer share of the Social Security tax.
- Expands access to federal unemployment benefits to those not traditionally eligible including those who are self-employed, independent contractors or with limited work history.
- Provides for a one time payment of up to $1,200 to eligible adults to help with lost income due to COVID-19.
- U.S. Legal Organizations Offer COVID-19 Assistance - With uncertainty over job security, evictions, insurance coverage, and the future of businesses, the legal needs of the American people have grown due to COVID-19. In response, several organizations have risen to meet the demand. On Friday March 27, the Lawyers for Good Government Foundation (L4GG) announced the launch of its Small Business Remote Legal Clinic, offering pro bono legal consultations for small business owners to help them understand and act upon the options available under the COVID-19 stimulus package and other grant and loan programs that may be available to them. L4GG says it has put together a coalition of 34 law firms in 30 cities across the U.S. to help staff the remote legal clinics. To be notified when a COVID Small Business Legal Clinic becomes available in your area, please fill out the quick form here.
- SBA to Provide Disaster Assistance Loans for Small Businesses Impacted by Coronavirus (COVID-19) - SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance for a small business. These loans can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing. The SBA
loans can be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses without credit available elsewhere.
- Federal Lawmakers Working on Economic Stimulus Package - Congressional leaders and the White House are working on different proposals to try to blunt the impact of COVID-19 on the U.S. economy and it’s expected a package could be
voted on next week. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that the White House wants to send most Americans $1,000 within three weeks and an additional $500 per child to counter the rapidly declining economy. The cash payments to many Americans
would total $500 billion and is part of a $1 trillion economic stimulus plan that the White House and Senate Republicans are working on. The administration is also proposing measures to help small businesses, including nonprofit groups, obtain
loans and creating an emergency lending program for airlines.
- H.R. 6201: Families First Coronavirus Response Act - Congress has passed, and the president has signed into law the Families First Coronavirus Act which seeks to strengthens
the social safety net by providing tax credits to business to cover the costs of both the expanded sick leave and expanded FMLA coverage as outlined below. The credit is applied to the tax the company normally pays for each employee’s Social Security.
This is the 6.2 percent tax employers pay on each employee’s salary. If sick leave or family and medical leave ends up costing more than the Social Security bill, the U.S. government will send the employer a check to cover the remaining costs.
The expanded coverage under the bill include:
- Increased Sick Leave Benefit – Requires employers to provide two weeks of paid sick leave for people who become infected with the coronavirus or have to care for someone who is, as well as people who are quarantined or whose place
of work or children's school is closed due to coronavirus.
- Expanded Emergency Family and Medical Leave - employees will be able to take up to three months of paid family and medical leave, equal to no less than two-thirds of their pay if they have to quarantine themselves or care for a family
member who is quarantined or for a child whose school has been closed.
- Increased federal dollars for Food Security Programs - provides for $1.5 billion for food programs aimed at helping those who may struggle to get access to meals during the pandemic, including those who rely on the Supplemental Nutrition
Assistance Program (SNAP), food banks, and the 22 million children who receive free or reduced-price lunch at school.
- Increased Emergency Unemployment Insurance - Provides $1 billion in 2020 for emergency grants to states to assist with processing and paying unemployment insurance. These funds will be managed by each state and further mandates state’s
waive waiting periods and job search requirements if the unemployment was caused as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Legal Employment Resources
Dentons law firm has created a COVID-19 resource page and has highlighted a few employee/employer-related items below.
Read more here.
Retail Best Practices
The GAMA Retail Division Board is creating a best practice and supportive resource. They are in the process of creating a living, consolidated document that will be available soon. We invite you to contribute your best practices to this crowd-sourced
document by emailing email@example.com.
Retailer Support Initiatives
Many GAMA publisher members are working on initiatives in response to current events during this unprecedented time. If you are a publisher offering one of these programs, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can
include you in this centralized list of initiatives.View list of initiatives here
FLGS Locator & Status
We have launched a Friendly Local Game Store (FLGS) locator for retailers (both GAMA members and non-members). To ensure your listing has accurate information, please complete this survey at your earliest convenience.
In addition to your business information, we will also highlight any alternate services you are offering customers, including curbside pick-up, local delivery, gift card sales, and more.
To help publishers support their retail partners, we are also sharing the status information of stores who complete the survey. It will be updated with new additions and changes as we receive them. View the spreadsheet here (updated 4/20/20).
Minimum Advertised Price (MAP) Policy Directory
As stores make alternate plans to carry on business during this crisis, we are seeing an uptick in the efforts to sell online. To assist retailers and publishers alike, we are maintaining a Minimum Advertised Price (MAP) Directory.
If you currently maintain a MAP Policy and would like it to be included in the directory, please complete the form linked here.
The GAMA staff is organizing a webinar with members from across the various tiers to share suggestions and best practices to cope with the economic shifts and downturn this crisis will inevitably have on our industry. If you would like to be part of the
panel or have specific questions you would like the panel to address, please send an email to email@example.com.
Link to webinar here.