Updates From Washington
MARCH 27: The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act
This law is subject to change subject to the House deliberations. This update will be amended if necessary.
What it is: The U.S. Congress has passed and the president has signed into law an estimated $2 trillion economic stimulus bill.
What it provides: According to The Wall Street Journal, “the new law would provide loans and other disbursements to a wide swath of the economy, including direct payments to Americans and loans to large and small companies. The bill also greatly expands unemployment insurance to cover freelance and gig workers, refills drained state coffers and extends additional resources to health-care providers.”
- Section 2102 - Pandemic Unemployment Assistance: This section creates a temporary Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program through December 31, 2020 to provide payment to those not traditionally eligible for unemployment benefits (self-employed, independent contractors, those with limited work history, and others) who are unable to work as a direct result of the coronavirus public health emergency.
- Section 2103 - Emergency Unemployment Relief for Governmental Entities & Nonprofit Organizations: This section provides payment to states to reimburse nonprofits, government agencies, and Indian tribes for half of the costs they incur through December 31, 2020 to pay unemployment benefits.
- Section 2104 - Emergency Increase in Unemployment Compensation Benefits: This section provides an additional $600 per week payment to each recipient of unemployment insurance or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance for up to four months.
- Section 2107 - Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation: This section provides an additional 13 weeks of unemployment benefits through December 31, 2020 to help those who remain unemployed after weeks of state unemployment benefits are no longer available.
- Section 2108 - Temporary Financing of Short-Time Compensation Payments in States with Programs in Law: This section provides funding to support “short-time compensation” programs, where employers reduce employee hours instead of laying off workers and the employees with reduced hours receive a pro-rated unemployment benefit. This provision would pay 100 percent of the costs they incur in providing this short-time compensation through December 31, 2020.
- Section 2201 - 2020 Recovery Rebates for Individuals: All U.S. residents with adjusted gross income up to $75,000 ($150,000 married), who are not a dependent of another taxpayer and have a work eligible social security number, are eligible for the full $1,200 ($2,400 married) rebate. In addition, they are eligible for an additional $500 per child. This is true even for those who have no income, as well as those whose income comes entirely from non-taxable means-tested benefit programs, such as SSI benefits. For most Americans, no action on their part will be required in order to receive a rebate check as IRS will use a taxpayer’s 2019 tax return if filed, or in the alternative their 2018 return.
- Section 2302 - Delay of Payment of Employer Payroll Taxes: The provision allows employers and self-employed individuals to defer payment of the employer share of the Social Security tax they otherwise are responsible for paying to the federal government with respect to their employees. Employers generally are responsible for paying a 6.2-percent Social Security tax on employee wages. The provision requires that the deferred employment tax be paid over the following two years, with half of the amount required to be paid by December 31, 2021 and the other half by December 31, 2022. The Social Security Trust Funds will be held harmless under this provision.
Who it impacts: The CARES Act will impact large and small businesses as well as freelance workers. Below are some frequently asked questions that are relevant to employers and employees in the golf industry.
- What does this mean for the golf industry? The golf industry and employees will benefit from the stimulus program. Unlike previous disaster assistance, certain businesses are not prohibited from assistance.
- How can I apply for a loan for my small business or facility?
The Small Business Administration, Department of Treasury and Labor will soon announce eligibility and sign-up processes. For interim guidance on small business assistance, click here. We will provide updates on specific procedures for securing assistance.
- I’m an independent contractor. Am I eligible? Once signed by President Trump, assistance will be made available to independent contractors and self-employed individuals.
- How does this impact retirement? According to AIG Retirement Services, the CARES Act provides greater access to assets held in tax-qualified retirement plans and IRAs. Click here for the specific relief being provided and qualifications.
MARCH 18: Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)
Goes into effect: April 2, 2020 through the end of 2020
What it is: The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201) answers the growing need for paid family and medical leave by providing the maximum amount of flexibility to the Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of Labor to be responsive to the needs of those small businesses that are suffering.
Who it impacts: The expanded family and medical leave provisions of the law apply to certain public employers, and private employers with fewer than 500 employees. Small businesses with fewer than 50 employees may qualify for exemption from the requirement to provide leave due to school closings or child care unavailability if the leave requirements would jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern.
- Fact sheet for employees: employee paid leave rights.
- Fact sheet for employers: employer expanded family and medical leave requirements.
- Questions and answers: Family First Coronavirus Response Act.
What it provides: The FFCRA provides that employees of covered employers are eligible for the below.
- Two weeks (up to 80 hours) of expanded family and medical leave at the employee’s regular rate of pay where the employee is unable to work because the employee is quarantined (pursuant to Federal, State, or local government order or advice of a health care provider), and/or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis; or
- Two weeks (up to 80 hours) of expanded family and medical leave at two-thirds the employee’s regular rate of pay because the employee is unable to work because of a bona fide need to care for an individual subject to quarantine (pursuant to Federal, State, or local government order or advice of a health care provider), or to care for a child (under 18 years of age) whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19; and
- Up to an additional 10 weeks of expanded family and medical leave at two-thirds the employee’s regular rate of pay where an employee, who has been employed for at least 30 calendar days, is unable to work due to a bona fide need for leave to care for a child whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19.
- Other provisions of FFCRA in further detail can be found on this chart.