COVID-19 has caused many illnesses and deaths worldwide. It also has caused significant economic loss for many business enterprises and this may impact, in turn, on the compensation those enterprises pay their executives. Today’s column discusses the impact COVID-19 may have on executive compensation.
On March 13, 2020, the President of the United States declared a national emergency beginning as of March 1 based on COVID-19. On March 27, 2020, the President signed into law the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security Act (the “CARES Act”). COVID-19-related decisions include picking the date to separate pre-COVID-19 and post-COVID-19 periods (the “COVID Start Date”) for compensation or other purposes. For most companies, at the present time, such decisions are at the discretion of the individual company. Exceptions may include companies receiving loans from, or loans guaranteed by, the U.S. Treasury Department. Such loans may be contingent upon agreement by the borrowing company to certain conditions, including the date to be treated as the COVID Start Date.
Joseph E. Bachelder III is special counsel to McCarter & English, LLP. Andy Tsang, a senior financial analyst with the firm, assisted in the preparation of this column.