House Passes Coronavirus Relief Bill Aiding Employers and Workers

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U.S. Capitol

Contact Leslie Moody for insight on how Central Kentucky employers are managing workforce challenges during COVID-19 pandemic lmoore@precisionstaffing.net

 

By: Lisa Nagele-Piazza, J.D., SHRM-SCP, March 27th 2020

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed the third and largest coronavirus relief package on March 27 to help struggling businesses and displaced workers during the pandemic. The Senate had previously approved the $2 trillion response bill, and it will now go to the president’s desk, where it is expected to be signed into law.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act aims to boost the economy with provisions that impact:

  • Unemployment insurance.
  • Business loans.
  • Employer-sponsored health insurance.
  • Retirement savings.
  • Employer-provided education assistance.

The legislation includes two proposals that that the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) has championed, including modernizing health savings account (HSA) rules to include telehealth, among other benefits, and expanding employer-provided education assistance to include student loan repayment as a benefit.

“SHRM has long-advocated for modernizing the rules governing HSAs to allow for employers to offer benefits that meet the needs of employees and their families,” said Chatrane Birbal, SHRM’s director of policy engagement. In particular, at this moment in time, altering the rules to include telehealth during the COVID-19 crisis will help to ease the burden on in-person facilities and help limit the spread of the virus by allowing people to receive care remotely without exposing themselves unnecessarily.

“SHRM is also pleased to see employer student loan repayment as a benefit included in the package,” Birbal said. This will provide some relief to employees that are currently repaying student loan debt.” [Read the SHRM Government Affairs Team’s analysis of the CARES Act to learn more about workplace-related provisions.]

The act will also create a temporary pandemic unemployment assistance program through Dec. 31 to aid workers who are not usually entitled to unemployment benefits, such as independent contractors and the self-employed.

Additionally, the legislation will enhance unemployment benefits by expanding eligibility and offering recipients an additional $600 a week through July 2020.

Businesses with fewer than 500 employees may be eligible for emergency grants and loans—which may qualify for forgiveness—to help make payroll and cover other employer expenses. The legislation will also provide for $500 billion in loans for airlines and large corporations.

Original article here: https://www.shrm.org/ResourcesAndTools/legal-and-compliance/employment-law/Pages/House-Passes-Coronavirus-Relief-Bill-Providing-Aid-to-Employers-and-Workers.aspx

 

Contact Leslie Moody for insight on how Central Kentucky employers are managing workforce challenges during COVID-19 pandemic lmoore@precisionstaffing.net

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