The Senate passed the $2 trillion coronavirus economic stimulus package by a vote of 96 – 0 with the absentee Senators in quarantine. The bill now goes to the House today for an expected voice vote, but a few Congressmen have issues and could potentially hold up passage.
The 880-page bill prescribes direct financial payments to certain income level Americans, aid to hospitals and other financial assistance to help prop up the economy during the pandemic. Of special interest is a business tax credit aimed at helping companies retain workers on their payrolls. While the details are still emerging, the fully refundable tax credit would cover furloughed employee wages or a reduced workforce and would be applied against the employer’s portion of payroll taxes which would be suspended. Eligible businesses could claim a 50% tax credit per employee on wages up to $10,000 per employee. Some small businesses (under 100 employees) could get a 50% credit on all paid wages regardless of if the employees were furloughed. To qualify the business must have a 50% gross receipts loss as compared to the same quarter last year.
Other business provisions include easing limits on businesses that use previous years losses to get rebates and increasing the deduction for business interest expense amounts. ARA will provide more detailed information as it comes out.
As reported last week, paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave changes were enacted to accommodate the employment impact from the coronavirus pandemic. Yesterday the Department of Labor (DOL) released guidance for the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). This guidance is the “first round of information and compliance assistance” and a workplace poster will be released later this week along with other detailed information. The new provisions go into effect on April 1, 2020. ARA will analyze and provide to its membership the specific details as they unfold. Click here for the preliminary guidance.
ARA sent a letter to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) volunteering recycled original equipment parts for the potential repurposing to medical equipment especially the much-needed ventilators. While several automakers are retooling their facilities to make simple ventilators there has been some discussion that there may be auto parts that are viable for these production purposes as well. ARA will keep its members further informed on this issue and any possible participation. Click here to view the letter.
ARA’s letter that was sent last week to President Trump was also sent to the U.S. governors and the National Governors Association sent a reply providing multiple charts and tracking of state activities. As previously reported, states and in some instances, localities have police powers and can determine their own Emergency Orders. While ARA and many in the business community have advocated for a central, federal framework, the country is seeing a patchwork of orders and mandates. To help examine what is going on around the country regarding what it considered an “essential service” by states that have implemented Emergency Orders available to view here.
Also view this link for explanatory notes.
Check out the Updated COVID-19 Resource page on this website.