Update on Economic Relief
One of the options offered to commercial fishermen for economic relief due to Covid-19 is the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Unfortunately, many commercial fishermen are discovering this program is not as helpful to them as it was intended. It is laid out in the Interim Final Rule that 1099 payments to contractors/crew are not eligible for the forgiveness portion of the loan. This is a problem for fishermen who employ crew, since the total amount of the PPP is calculated using the employer's payroll costs.
As of right now, this is not a process to pay crew that are missing out on crew shares. For now, the government is suggesting that crew, as self-employed fishermen, can apply for themselves as a contract employee or schedule C Sole proprietor for relief.
Also changing this week is the Economic Injury Disaster Loan which has changed from "up to $10K in advanced funds" as a grant to "maybe" $1K advanced funds per employee as a grant.
UFA raised these concerns with Senator Murkowski and Senator Sullivan's offices. Staff has assured us the Senators brought up this issue with Treasury and they're working on potential fixes to address this issue. Please stay tuned as we will update folks with any information we receive.