Senate passes $ 1.9 trillion COVID-19 economic relief bill
The US Senate passed the American Rescue Plan Act in a 50-49 vote on March 6. The bill aims to provide additional economic relief for COVID-19, including expanded federal unemployment benefits and assistance for small businesses.
The United States House of Representatives approved a version of the bill in a 219-212 vote on February 27 and will now consider Senate revisions before sending it to the president for signature.
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Extended unemployment benefits
The federal government’s weekly $ 300 supplement to unemployment benefits will currently expire on March 14. The House initially proposed extending benefits at a higher weekly rate, but the Senate approved an extension of unemployment benefits to $ 300 per week until September 6. The first $ 10,200 in unemployment benefits would be tax free for households earning up to $ 150,000. The bill also extends Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) to self-employed and construction workers and other workers who are not eligible for state unemployment benefits, and compensation for the state. Pandemic Emergency Unemployment (PEUC), which gives unemployed people extra long-term weeks. state benefits. More than 18 million people were receiving unemployment benefits as of mid-February, according to the US Department of Labor.
Relief for restaurants and more
The Senate bill would allocate $ 50 billion to small businesses, including $ 28.6 billion (up from $ 25 billion in the House bill) for a new subsidy program that would provide funds to bars, restaurants and other places that had to close during the pandemic. The bill would expand the Paycheck Protection Program (P3) to cover more nonprofits and digital media companies and add $ 15 billion to the advance grant program for loans in case of loss. disaster in the event of economic damage. The bill would also provide financial assistance to individuals and families, schools, and state and local governments. Additional funding would be allocated to testing for COVID-19 and distributing vaccines.
Removal of the minimum wage of $ 15
The House version of the stimulus package called for gradual increases in the federal minimum wage, which would bring it to $ 15 an hour by 2025. The Senate parliamentarian, however, rejected the inclusion of the minimum wage hike. in the pandemic bill, which was swift. – monitoring throughout the budget reconciliation process. The Senate version of the bill therefore does not include the minimum wage provision. The House will now vote on the Senate version of the bill before the measure can be sent to the president’s office. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., Said the House would vote on the Senate version of the bill on March 9.
Employers may be eligible for a second PPP loan
An economic relief program adopted in December 2020 expanded the Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act’s paycheck protection program against the coronavirus. The PPP aims to help struggling businesses keep workers employed during the COVID-19 crisis. Employers who received loans under the program last year may be eligible for a second loan if they meet certain criteria. Eligible employers can now apply for a first or second loan until March 31.
Coronavirus and COVID-19 Resources for the Workplace
The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way we work and manage employees. Here are some resources from the Society for Human Resource Management to help you navigate the pandemic.