New rule makes seasonal fishermen and crew members eligible for the Paycheck Protection Program

Boats in the bay are underway as the fishing season ramps up on June 25, 2020. (Sage Smily/KDLG)

A new rule added to the Paycheck Protection Program allows commercial fishing businesses to include their crew member payroll when they apply for the Paycheck Protection Program. The state announced the change today.

Previously, the PPP recognized crew members as “self-employed” by the Internal Revenue Service. Senator Lisa Murkowski, Dan Sullivan and Congressman Don Young urged the Department of Treasury and Small Business Administration to make the fix.

Murkowski said last month that the previous requirements left crew wages out of the equation when applying for the loans.

“The PPP really didn’t account for the fact that so many of our businesses in Alaska are seasonal,” she said. “When you think about the fisheries in Bristol Bay that’s certainly a seasonal business. It’s the very definition of it.”

In the announcement, she said that “enabling fishermen to secure the resources they need through PPP is not only fair, it means that these businesses so critical to Alaska have a fighting chance to say afloat.” Senator Sullivan called the new rule a “common-sense fix.”

Individual crew members will be able to calculate up to $100,000 in payroll made over a 12 week period. The PPP will be two-and-a half times that total average. For example, if a crewmember made 100,000, that would be divided by 12, which equals $8,300. That is then multiplied by 2.5, and it equals $20,800.  Fishermen will have until June 30 to apply for PPP funds. 

People can apply for the PPP here.

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