COVID-19 Vaccines and Stimulus Bill: Key Takeaways for Compliance

COVID-19 Vaccines and Stimulus Bill: Key Takeaways for Compliance

by Amie Remington, Esq., on January 13, 2021
After much negotiating, Congress passed the latest COVID-19 stimulus bill aimed at rescuing the pandemic-battered US economy. President Donald Trump signed the bill into law on December 27, 2020. 
 
The $900 billion pandemic relief package will extend aid to those affected by the coronavirus through stimulus checks, enhanced federal unemployment benefits, and money for small businesses, schools and childcare, as well as for vaccine distribution.
 
Based on what we know now, here’s what relief is included in the historic legislation:
 
Second round of stimulus checks. One of the bill’s key elements is a second wave of direct stimulus payments for millions of Americans – up to $600 for eligible individuals, $1,200 for joint taxpayers, and an additional $600 for each dependent child 16 years old or younger. This means a family with two children could receive $2,400.
 
As of today, there is nothing you need to do to get a stimulus payment. The IRS will begin work to issue stimulus payments using the most recent information they have on file, likely from your 2019 tax return, either by direct deposit or by check.
 
Support for small businesses. The package extends the popular Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which provided distressed small businesses with forgivable loans to keep them afloat and leave employees on the books. PPP was re-upped with $284 billion in funds. Businesses that already received a PPP loan will be eligible to get a second one under the new terms. Some of the PPP funds will be set aside for the smallest businesses and community-based lenders.
 
More unemployment insurance. The CARES Act, passed in March, added $600 weekly in federal funds to unemployment benefits paid out by states. Those benefits expired in late December 2020. This billwill provide benefits in the amount of $300 per week. The extra money will go out for 11 weeks, ending on March 14. Other unemployment programs for non-traditional workers (gig, freelance, self-employed, independent contractors) were also extended.
 
Vaccine distribution and development. On Dec. 20, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted emergency use authorization (EUA) for the COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by Moderna, making it the second vaccine available to Americans. The new federal stimulus law provides $69 billion for vaccine distribution and testing efforts, including $20 billion for the purchase of vaccines, nearly $9 billion for vaccine distribution and about $22 billion to help states with testing, tracing and mitigation programs.
 
The bottom line: The pandemic will end, but it's certainly not over yet. We may see almost daily developments on the coronavirus-related front, and we will do our best to keep you informed. So, stay tuned -- and be careful out there.
 
You can get more details about COVID-19 and how the emergency coronavirus bill impacts your business and your employees by visiting our COVID-19 Employer Resource Center and checking out our " COVID-19 Vaccines and Stimulus Bill" webinar, now available on-demand.
 
Check in and follow LandrumHR on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter to keep up to date on upcoming events and other employment news and resources.
 
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Amie Remington, Esq.

As General Counsel of LandrumHR, Amie advises on all business and employment-related legal issues. She is also a regular speaker at national and state-wide events, discussing all aspects of employment law that affect all employers, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, the National Labor Relations Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the state counterparts to these laws. Before joining LandrumHR, Amie was a partner in the law firm of Bozeman, Jenkins & Matthews, P.A., where she represented employers, management and the State of Florida in all types of employment-related matters. At the firm, Amie focused on policy creation, prevention of discrimination and harassment and management education and training, as well as all aspects of employment litigation, including trial and appeal work.

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