As we continue to explore many avenues to support our local business community through this time, we wanted to share this analysis by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on the recently passed House’s COVID-19 Response Legislation and how it aims to help businesses and individuals. We will continue to actively monitor this and many other potential public and private programs and will keep you informed.
As the US Chamber states in this document analyzing the bill, on March 14, the House of Representatives passed the "Families First Coronavirus Response Act". President Trump has announced his support for the bill and it is expected to pass the Senate early next week. Secretary Mnuchin has announced that there will be additional technical corrections to the bill as soon as Monday. The US Chamber states in its message to local Chambers that they "acknowledge that the bill is not perfect, but we have plans to—with feedback and input from our federation members—address these faults with Capitol Hill."
At this link is the full summary analysis of the bill, and below is a list of what the bill addresses and a preview of how the summary explains each section. This bill addresses:
• Unemployment Compensation
• Paid Sick Leave
• Paid Family and Medical Leave
• Provisions for Diagnostic Testing
• Health Services
• School Nutrition Programs, WIC, SNAP, Senior Food Programs
• Medical Devices Liability
• Discussion of Liquidity Impact for Small Businesses
Paid Sick Leave:
Requires private sector employers with fewer than 500 employees and government employers to provide employees with two-weeks of paid sick leave (80 hours for full-time employees and typical number of hours over two-weeks for part-time employees).
Eligibility: The paid sick leave is available to any employee without regard to duration of employment if they are out in order to:
• Self-isolate because they have coronavirus,
• Obtain a diagnosis because they are exhibiting symptoms,
• Comply with an order by a health care professional to stay away from work,
• Care for a family member facing the instances mentioned above, or
• Care for children if schools are closed or their caregiver is unavailable because of a public health emergency.
Rate of Pay: Employees are compensated at the higher of their regular rate, the federal minimum wage, or the local minimum wage. However, if the employee is absent to care for a sick family member or a child unable to attend school, they are compensated at 2/3 of the rate they would otherwise receive.
Relationship to Existing Programs: This paid sick leave is in addition to whatever sick leave is already offered by the employer (including subject to state or local requirements). Once this legislation is enacted an employer may not make changes to its sick leave policy.
Effective Dates: The provision takes effect not later than 15 days after enactment of the bill and sunsets on December 31, 2020.
Funding: Each quarter, private sector employers subject to the requirement are entitled to a fully refundable tax credit equal to 100% of the qualified sick leave wages paid by the employer. Qualified sick leave wages are capped at $511 per day ($200 per day if the leave is for caring for a family member) and 10 days. The tax credit is applied against employer Social Security taxes, but employers are reimbursed if their costs for qualified sick leave exceed the taxes they would owe. The Treasury Secretary is provided with regulatory authority intended to help with cash flow issues, for example by waiving penalties on failing to deposit payroll taxes in anticipation of the credit.
Self-Employed: There is a similar tax credit against self-employment taxes for individuals who are self- employed but would otherwise qualify for paid sick leave if they were an employee of an employer.
To learn more about how the bill addresses each of the other categories click here.
Enjoy the rest of your weekend and monitor our social media sites, newsletters etc. for continued information on local announcements and responses. If your business is doing something to help support our local business community and residents through this time, please be sure to let me know.
Katie Worthington Decker
Your Winter Haven Chamber President