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Congress Approves Economic Relief Plan for Individuals and Businesses

In just a few weeks, the world has drastically changed, including the dynamics of our workplaces. Many small and large businesses have shut their doors until further notice. While others have shifted to remote work for some, if not all, of their employees.

These unprecedented shifts point to the massive impact COVID-19 is having on our global economy. Businesses and employees are experiencing financial stress and strain as 'business as usual' can't even be conducted. Those businesses that have remained in operation are now struggling to plan for the future, as well as maintain the stability of their organization through the months to come.

On Friday, March 27, 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act passed the House of Representatives, and then the President signed the bill into law. The bill builds upon the earlier versions of the CARES Act. It is intended to be the third round of federal government support in the wake of the coronavirus public health crisis and economic fallout.

The CARES Act follows both the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and the $8.3 billion in public health support passed a few weeks prior. It is the product of negotiations of a bipartisan response between Democrats and Republicans to the global crisis. The CARES Act builds on these two other pieces of legislation by offering more support to both individuals and businesses, as well as changes to tax policy.

This new legislation can help to ease the strain for many. We've compiled clear and concise information on some of the most recent changes the CARES Act has brought to legislation. And, most importantly, the new resources available to employees and their employers.

This COVID-19 relief stimulus package, otherwise known as the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, will offer additional unemployment insurance provisions to include the following:

  • The CARES Act has expanded unemployment insurance (UI) for workers. This consists of a $600 per week increase in benefits for up to four months. As well as federal funding of UI benefits provided to those not usually eligible for UI - such as the independent contractors, self-employed, and those with limited work history.
  • Additionally, the federal government is incentivizing states to repeal any “waiting week” provisions that prevent unemployed workers from getting benefits as soon as they’re let go by fully funding the first week of UI for states that suspend such any waiting period.
  • And, the federal government will also fund an additional 13 weeks of unemployment benefits through December 31, 2020, only after workers have run out of state unemployment benefits.

The CARES Act is a step forward toward providing economic relief to individuals and businesses facing hardship or economic ruin due to this global crisis.