By: David G. Greineder, IOM, Director of Government Affairs
The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has impacted businesses around the world. In response, the U.S. Congress and Trump Administration are working on a series of legislative “packages” to assist the healthcare industry, individuals, and businesses. The first bill to reach the President’s Desk was $8.3 billion in financial aid to public health agencies for vaccines, tests, and treatments. The second bill, signed by the President this week, is a $104 billion package aimed to help individuals impacted by COVID-19 by providing free testing and enhancing employer-based paid sick leave and paid medical leave, among other provisions. The third omnibus, which has not yet been unveiled, is expected to send direct payments to Americans and provide financial aid to businesses. Altogether, the three legislative packages are expected to top $1 trillion.
As a service to our members, it is important you have details on what employers will be required to provide to employees affected by COVID-19. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201), in part, creates two paid sick leave programs that businesses under 500 employees must offer.
For the paid sick leave requirements, employers under 50 may apply for waivers. Covered employers will be eligible to receive a tax credit equal to 100 percent of the benefits paid-out. H.R. 6201 requires the Secretary of Labor to provide a notice summarizing the provisions employers must post, so stay tuned for that document. Certainly, details and processes of the provisions will be forthcoming. In the meantime, a summary of the legislation can be found here.
At the state-level, the Legislature is expected to consider COVID-19 bills in the days ahead. This week, Senate leaders announced the Commonwealth Financing Authority is taking steps to make available $60 million in zero interest loans to small businesses with fewer than 100 full-time employees. While guidelines of the program are still being developed, information on other programs and assistance for small businesses can be found here.
There is no greater time for our industry to band together and support each other. On behalf of ABC, we appreciate your ongoing support and membership. By sharing resources and taking the necessary precautions, we will come out of this crisis stronger.
Helpful Tools and Resources for Your Business:
Posted March 19, 2020