COVID-19 Update: Paycheck Protection Program Changes


This week Congress finalized legislation to ensure that businesses that received a forgivable loan through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) can have more leeway on how to spend those funds.

Under the newly-passed Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020 small businesses would have to spend just 60 percent of the loan money on payroll instead of 75 percent as outlined in the original law. In addition, current PPP borrowers can choose to extend the eight-week period of the disbursement to 24 weeks, or they can keep the original eight-week period if their business has sufficiently recovered. New PPP borrowers will have a 24-week covered period, but the covered period can’t extend beyond December 31, 2020. Borrowers can use the 24-week period to restore their workforce levels and wages to the pre-pandemic levels required for full forgiveness. This must be done by December 31, 2020, a change from the previous deadline of June 30, 2020.

The bill includes two exceptions allowing borrowers to reach full PPP loan forgiveness even if they aren’t able to fully restore their workforce. Previous guidance already allowed borrowers to exclude from those calculations employees who turned down good faith offers to be rehired at the same hours and wages as before the pandemic. The new bill allows borrowers to adjust because they could not find qualified employees or were unable to restore business operations to February 15, 2020, levels due to COVID-19 related operating restrictions.

Finally, the bill extends a June 30, 2020 deadline to rehire workers, pushes back the timeline for repaying loans, and allows companies that get loan forgiveness to defer payroll taxes. 

The President is expected to sign the bill into law shortly. For questions, please contact Justin Beland, Director of Government Affairs at jbeland@aopanet.org, and keep checking our COVID-19 resources page for more updates.